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Ball Aerospace Participates in Landmark Front Range Air Quality Study
July 15, 2014
Ball’s GEO-TASO Instrument to Collect Data during Month-long Airborne Field Campaign
BOULDER, Colo., July 15, 2014 – Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. will take part in a month-long Colorado study to measure air quality along the Denver Front Range with the goal of improving our ability to diagnose air quality conditions from space.
The activity will be based out of Broomfield’s Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport and will run from July 16 through August 16. The campaign includes three NASA research aircraft and a fourth aircraft from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and Boulder’s National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). Ball Aerospace will also participate, flying its Geostationary Trace Gases and Aerosol Sensor Optimization (GEO-TASO) instrument aboard the NASA HU-25C Falcon Jet.
GEO-TASO is an aircraft-mounted hyperspectral sensor that measures atmospheric gasses to identify human and natural sources of pollution. GEO-TASO will provide a complementary data set to the other campaign instruments to help validate and enhance the findings of the study.
“Ball will be working closely with the other campaigns to help design flight paths for the optimal science return,” said Bill Good, Ball’s GEO-TASO Airborne Lead. “Our unique position as a collaborator rather than participant on the science campaigns allows us the flexibility to update flight plans real-time based on day-to-day study findings in order to target high value areas and share our findings with researchers.”
The Colorado study area along the Denver Front Range contains a diverse mixture of air pollution sources that include transportation, power generation, oil and gas extraction, agriculture, natural vegetation and episodic wildfires. NASA’s planes are flying as part of DISCOVER-AQ, which stands for Deriving Information on Surface Conditions from Column and Vertically-Resolved Observations Relevant to Air Quality. The NCAR/NSF plane will conduct the Front Range Air Pollution and Photochemistry Experiment, or FRAPPÉ.
GEO-TASO is a risk-reduction sensor that was built by Ball in advance of building a similar instrument for TEMPO, NASA’s Tropospheric Emissions: Monitoring of Pollution mission.
TEMPO will measure atmospheric pollution over North America from geostationary orbit, as part of a global air quality monitoring constellation of geostationary satellites when it launches in 2017. TEMPO is the first NASA Earth Venture Instrument mission and will be the first UV-visible air quality spectrometer in geostationary orbit.
“The Colorado field campaign allows the airborne GEO-TASO instrument to contribute high altitude, satellite-like measurements ahead of the spaceborne TEMPO mission which will help connect the two air quality data sets,” added Good.
Ball’s funding to participate in the Front Range campaign results from continuing support in the early stage development of NASA’s Geostationary Coastal and Air Pollution Events (GEO-CAPE), an Earth Science Decadal Survey mission. GEO-CAPE aims to measure atmospheric gasses over North America on an hourly basis to understand and help forecast air quality but is not expected to launch before 2020. TEMPO will fulfill part of the GEO-CAPE goals to measure trace gases and aerosols on an hourly basis.
Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. supports critical missions for national agencies such as the Department of Defense, NASA, NOAA and other U.S. government and commercial entities. The company develops and manufactures spacecraft, advanced instruments and sensors, components, data exploitation systems and RF solutions for strategic, tactical and scientific applications. For more information, visit http://www.ballaerospace.com/.
Ball Corporation (NYSE: BLL) supplies innovative, sustainable packaging solutions for beverage, food and household products customers, as well as aerospace and other technologies and services primarily for the U.S. government. Ball Corporation and its subsidiaries employ 14,500 people worldwide and reported 2013 sales of $8.5 billion. For more information, visit www.ball.com, or connect with us on Facebook or Twitter.
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