OIB ATM sitrep 10/22/18 pm

The NASA IceSat 2 (IS2) satellite is in orbit and taking science data following its Sept 15th launch. Today at 0847Z (about 8 hours before the DC8 arrived at today’s science site) IceSat 2 orbited along a line that crossed Antarctica, and today’s OIB DC8 mission under-flew that IS2 orbital track. The DC8 flight path alternated between two IS2 closely spaced beam pairs (IceSat 2 has 6 beams arranged in 3 sets of closely spaced dual beams) following one beam ground track for about 100 km, then shifting over to the other beam for 100 km, allowing comparison of the airborne OIB data to IS2 data, as well as providing crossing points between the beam paths to better calibrate the ATM lidar mounting biases. Today’s mission was very successful, sampling along the IS beam paths in a varied of sky conditions ranging from completely clear to various thin and thicker overcasts. All OIB airborne remote sensing instrumentation worked well again today.

The photos below mostly document the sky conditions (for IS folks who are interested). Not much scenery today, the flight line was selected for flat stable snow surfaces for comparison to IS2 data. We did see the Ellsworth Mountains in the distance.
We’ll likely attempt our first-ever nighttime OIB Antarctic sea ice mission tomorrow evening as we again under-fly IceSat2.
The Ellsworth Mountains are the highest mountain ranges in Antarctica, forming a 360 km (224 mi) long and 48 km (30 mi) wide chain of mountains in a north to south configuration on the western margin of the Ronne Ice Shelf.  The mountains were discovered on November 23, 1935, by Lincoln Ellsworth in the course of a trans-Antarctic flight from Dundee Island to the Ross Ice Shelf. He gave the descriptive name Sentinel Range.

The mountains were mapped in detail by the U.S. Geological Survey from ground surveys and U.S. Navy aerial photography, 1958-66. When it became evident that the mountains comprise two distinct ranges, the US-ACAN restricted the application of Sentinel Range to the high northern one and gave the name Heritage Range to the southern one; the Committee recommended the name of the discoverer for this entire group of mountains.

Overall view of our flight track today
Detail showing NASA 817 shifting back and forth between one of the IceSat 2 beam pair track to the other beam pair track (IceSat 2 has 6 beams arranged in 3 sets of closely spaced dual beams).
Waves on Ottway Sound near Punta Arenas as the DC8 maneuvered for our calibration ramp pass
Ellsworth Mountains
Ellsworth Mountains


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