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15 October 2012 Discovery and characterization of on-orbit degradation of the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) Rotating Telescope Assembly (RTA)
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Abstract
The Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (NPP) satellite was launched on Oct. 28, 2011, and began the commissioning phase of several of its instruments shortly thereafter. One of these instruments, VIIRS, was found to exhibit a gradual but persistent decrease in the optical throughput of several bands, with the near-infrared bands being more affected than those in the visible. The rate of degradation quickly increased upon opening of the nadir door that permits the VIIRS telescope to view the earth. Simultaneously, a second instrument on NPP, the Solar Diffuser Stability Monitor (SDSM), was experiencing a similar decrease in response, leading the investigation team to suspect that the cause must be the result of some common contamination process. This paper will discuss a series of experiments that were performed to demonstrate that the VIIRS and SDSM response changes were due to separate causes, and which enabled the team to conclude that the VIIRS sensor degradation was the result of ultraviolet light exposure of the rotating telescope assembly. The root cause investigation of the telescope degradation will be addressed in a separate paper.
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F. De Luccia, D. Moyer, E. Johnson, K. Rausch, N. Lei, K. Chiang, X. Xiong, J. Fulbright, E. Haas, and G. Iona "Discovery and characterization of on-orbit degradation of the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) Rotating Telescope Assembly (RTA)", Proc. SPIE 8510, Earth Observing Systems XVII, 85101A (15 October 2012); doi: 10.1117/12.930544; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.930544
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