ESTO Observation Technologies

Carefully developed instrument and component technologies can reduce the risk and cost of new scientific observations with extended capabilities. ESTO's strategy for observation technologies focuses on new measurement approaches that can enable improved science capabilities and technologies to reduce the overall volume, mass, and operational complexity in observing systems. Developing and validating novel observation technologies before mission development improves their acceptance and infusion by mission planners and significantly reduces cost and schedule uncertainties.

ESTO currently manages two observation technology programs:

The Advanced Component Technologies (ACT) program develops a broad array of components and sub-systems for instruments and observing systems.

The Instrument Incubator Program (IIP) funds innovative technologies that lead directly to new Earth observing instruments, sensors, and systems. From concept through field demonstrations and infusion, IIP developments yield smaller, less resource intensive, and easier-to-build flight instruments.

Past activities include:

  • The UAVSAR project, which evolved from an IIP-funded project, is actively pursuing an L-band synthetic aperture radar (SAR) system that will fly on an uninhabited aerial vehicle (UAV) for rapid repeat-pass interferometry measurements of Earth's surface.
  • The Laser Risk Reduction Program was established in 2002 in order to formalize design, testing, and development procedures for durable laser systems and architectures, particularly in the critical 1- and 2-micron wavelengths.