The New Millennium Program (NMP)
was created to identify, develop, and test advanced technologies
and concepts for infusion into future missions. To determine the
future capabilities needed, NMP is guided by NASA's Earth and space
science "roadmaps." These roadmaps, developed by scientists, lay
out the path of future scientific enquiry. They serve not only as
a vital guide for NMP's selection of technologies, but are used
to conceive and design the Program's test missions as well.
NMP's technologists attempt to match the technical requirements
outlined in the roadmaps with technologies emerging from the national
"pipeline." This pipeline consists of current technology-development
efforts in the private sector, academia, non-profit organizations,
and other government and NASA centers.
to the objectives of flight-qualifying new technologies and concepts,
NMP also strives to reduce the cost of its space-testing missions
through partnering on flights-of-opportunity (sharing resources).
The GIFTS-IOMI mission is just such a mission, jointly sponsored
by NMP and the Department of Navy's
Office of Naval Research (ONR). The National
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will support data
retrieval and analysis. Other agencies and advanced technology providers
will participate in the development of the mission. NASA and designated
centers of education, along with other educational programs, will
bring information about the mission and its results to the public.
EO3's GIFTS will fly as a primary payload (instrument/experiments)
onboard a Department of Defense launch vehicle. NASA will operate
the GIFTS instrument over the continental United States for an initial
period of time to checkout the function of the new technologies
and to refine algorithms used to convert the GIFTS data into usable
weather information. The Navy will use the data from the GIFTS instrument
during the IOMI operational phase over the Indian Ocean.
The GIFTS-IOMI mission consists of two operational phases: GIFTS
validation in the first phase, and then the IOMI operational phase.
NASA's Langley Research Center
(LaRC), located in Hampton, Virginia, will manage the GIFTS validation
phase, then the instrument will be transferred to the Navy's ONR
on orbit. This arrangement allows NASA and NOAA to receive the GIFTS
instrument data during the IOMI phase as well. But, the primary
focus of the IOMI phase is the Navy requirements over the Indian
The GIFTS innovative atmospheric measurement concept was developed
at NASA's LaRC. The Center will manage the development of the instrument
and support the Navy in its development of the spacecraft. LaRC
will also develop the techniques for validating GIFTS' technologies.
The Navy's ONR will fund GIFTS' enhancementssuch as redundancy
in the electronics required for a longer operational lifetimeand
manage the development of the spacecraft and launch vehicle.
Advanced technology companies (TRW and Boeing) will build the
spacecraft and the launch vehicle, then conduct test and integration
procedures. Utah State University's Space
Dynamics Laboratory will develop, then support the validation
of, GIFTS sensor module, and calibrate the instrument. The University
of Wisconsin-Madison will develop the algorithms for processing
the instrument data.
GIFTS technologies will be demonstrated and validated for approximately six months to
18 months. These technologies will be developed and provided by
several United States companies and are beyond current state-of-the-art in
space instrumentation. NOAA will provide ground system data receipt
during the EO3 phase of the mission and will manage the distribution
of meteorological data products (results) during all phases of the
mission. NOAA will evaluate the GIFTS temperature, moisture, and
tracer wind profile products for their potential operational benefits.
One commercial airliner, American Airlines, along with NASA's
Aviation Safety Program, will test GIFTS data products in an effort
to improve airline operations. The airliner and the safety program
will document how GIFTS observations help pilots steer clear of
potentially hazardous weather. They will investigate if better flight-level
wind information, particularly over data-sparse oceanic regions,
improves fuel management.
The GIFTS' outreach program is managed by Dr. Arlene Levine, Outreach
and Education Manager for Langley's Atmospheric Science Competency,
and by Dr. Sanjay Limaye, of the University of Wisconsin. NMP's
outreach and education program is managed Nancy Leon, Program Outreach
Coordinator, at Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Partnering accomplishes NMP's objective of reducing costs while space testing new technologies and concepts.