Studying the exo-planets and the dark space out there, is not the only aim for the scientists at NASA. As a concern for the Earth’s health, NASA has special missions to check the ozone along with other gases.
Brooke Thornton of NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, is the mission operations manager for SAGE III on ISS. She and her team, has devoted nearly eight years to the project.
Thornton said, “After seeing SAGE III mature from concept, to development, to assembly and testing and preparing for mission ops”. Her excitements knew no bounds, when she explained about its launch. The launch is currently targeted for Feb. from Kennedy on a SpaceX Falcon 9/Dragon Vehicle.
Soon after reaching the International Space Station, the robotic arms will install the instrument, onto an ExPRESS Logistics Carrier platform. “The station robot arm removes SAGE III from the Dragon trunk, and then rides along the ISS truss to our mounting location and then installs the payloads,” Thornton said.
After checking out all payload systems, initial calibration and validation, SAGE III will begin taking routine science measurements. The data will be downloaded every-day for use by the international science community.
NASA Langley Research Center, NASA Kennedy, NASA’s Johnson Space Center and NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, contributed to the project. Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corp. , the ESA and Thales Alenia Space-Italia are also a part of the project.
Stratospheric Aerosol and Gas Experiment (SAGE), is a series of remote sensing satellite instruments. It specifically studies the chemical composition of the Earth’s atmosphere. SAGE especially studies the Earth’s ozone layer and aerosols at the troposphere through stratosphere. It uses solar occultation measurement.
The SAGE III instrument consists of several powerful tools. It also has a telescope, grating spectrometer and charge coupled device detector array, that together, act as a camera.