Cryogenic Infrared Radiance Instrumentation for Shuttle
SDL developed CIRRIS-1A for the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) to obtain simultaneous spectral and spatial measurements of atmospheric emissions, including airglow and auroral phenomenology. Secondary objectives were to characterize targets of opportunity such as LEO satellites passing within viewing range of the sensors, and to assess shuttle contamination.
SDL designed, built, integrated and tested this highly successful cryogenic infrared telescope, which contained a high resolution Michelson interferometer-spectrometer and a dual channel radiometer. These sensors shared the common collecting optics of a high off-axis-rejection 0.3 µm telescope.
CIRRIS-1A flew aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery in 1991 (STS-39). Data obtained has led to an improved understanding of upper atmospheric composition and physics and significantly updated atmospheric models.