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On March 4th, 2011, the Glory satellite was unsuccessful in its attempt to reach orbit due to a failure with the launch vehicle. For more information, visit the NASA Glory Web site:


Raytheon’s Aerosol Polarimetry Sensor

Raytheon’s Aerosol Polarimetry Sensor (APS) will measure aerosols in Earth’s atmosphere to provide scientists and policy makers a better understanding of how those aerosols affect global climate change. Comprising 161 optical elements, including six precision-aligned telescopes that analyze light of varying wavelengths, the APS will make comprehensive measurements from multiple viewing angles in multiple spectral bands.

“The Glory Aerosol Polarimetry Sensor can distinguish between various types of aerosols and reveal the different role each plays in either warming or cooling our planet,” said Bill Hart, vice president, Space Systems. “Since black carbon aerosols generally contribute to warming, and sulfate aerosols to cooling, the concentrations of these aerosols and others must be determined to ensure accurate climate modeling.”

How will this help scientists understand the impact of global climate change?

Both natural and man-made aerosols are important constituents of the atmosphere that affect global temperature. Yet they remain poorly quantified and, according to NASA scientists, represent the largest uncertainty regarding climate change.

“Because these particles are transported over long distances by winds, their effects on climate are best studied through space-based observations,” said Hart. “With the information provided by the APS, policy leaders can make better-informed decisions with regard to addressing seasonal and regional climate change events.”

Unique sensor capabilities help to reveal the impact of atmospheric aerosols on climate

Raytheon’s Aerosol Polarimetry Sensor  was designed to collect global aerosol data for climate scientists during NASA’s 3-year Glory mission. It is the most advanced polarimeter ever to fly in space — and the only instrument able to distinguish various types of natural aerosols from the man-made black carbon and sulfate aerosols in Earth’s atmosphere.


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