For several decades, Ball Aerospace has been on the cutting edge of developing space-based LIDAR technology for new science, tactical and commercial applications – with a proven track record of delivering LIDAR that goes beyond expectations in terms of accuracy, lifespan, and scientific impact.
Ball's deep heritage in wind LIDAR technology development offers scientists and weather forecasters a simpler, more cost-effective path to global wind measurements – resulting in more accurate weather forecasting.
Filling the Greatest Unmet Need: 3D Winds
Ball’s OAWL leverages heritage technologies from the CALIPSO mission, and has flown on NASA-sponsored test flights to push the system closer to a space-based mission. Together with grant funding from NASA, Ball has designed, built and validated multiple versions of the OAWL system, including the ATHENA-OAWL Airborne Demonstrator, the Green-OAWL (GrOAWL) which recently flew on the NASA WB-57 jet.
ATHENA-OAWL EVI-4 Proposal
International Space Station orbit
Why 3D Winds?
3D wind measurements would benefit:
- extreme weather forecasting
- civil aviation
- military operations
- air quality forecasting
Deep Heritage in Space-Based 3D Wind Measurement
ATHENA-OAWL Airborne Demonstrator
GrOAWL wind speed and direction profiles are derived using two-look line of sight OAWL Doppler measurements acquired over the Gulf of Mexico on 17 June 2016. The wind barb colors indicate the speed, and the barbs are pointing into the direction of the wind (i.e. winds around 4 km are mostly easterly, while winds above 6.5 km are more Northerly). The six slanted wind barb profiles shown in bold indicate speed and direction as measured by radiosondes dropped from the aircraft to validate the lidar measurement.
Image courtesy of Sunil Baidar, University of Colorado
Ground and airborne based validation