SSEC Instrument Developments

Beginning with Verner Suomi’s thermal radiation experiment in 1959, scientists and engineers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Space Science and Engineering have continuously invented new ways to study the Earth and other planets. To do so, they have designed and built spaceflight, airborne, and ground-based instruments to conduct atmospheric, oceanic, environmental, and astronomical research. The results of that research have led – and continue to lead – to better understanding of our planet, yielding direct benefits to society.

1958-01-01 00:00:00


Beginning with Verner Suomi’s thermal radiation experiment in 1959, scientists and engineers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Space Science and Engineering have continuously invented new ways to study the Earth and other planets. To do so, they have designed and built spaceflight, airborne, and ground-based instruments to conduct atmospheric, oceanic, environmental, and astronomical research. The results of that research have led – and continue to lead – to better understanding of our planet, yielding direct benefits to society.

1959-10-13 14:04:28

Thermal Radiation Experiment

The Thermal Radiation Experiment on board the Explorer 7 satellite was launched on 13 October 1959. The instrument (bolometer) was designed and fabricated at the Space Science and Engineering Center. A modified version of the bolometer flew on TIROS 3, 4 and 7 and was called the Low-resolution Omnidirectional Radiometer.

1961-01-01 14:04:28

Low-Resolution Omnidirectional Radiometer

This experiment was designed to measure the amount of solar energy absorbed, reflected, and emitted by the Earth and its atmosphere. The experiment consisted primarily of two sets of bolometers in the form of hollow aluminum hemispheres, mounted on opposite sides of the spacecraft, whose optical axes were parallel to the spin axis. The bolometers were mounted on mirror surfaces so that the hemispheres behaved very much like isolated spheres in space. One bolometer in each set was painted black, and one was painted white. The black bolometer absorbed most of the incident radiation while the white bolometer was sensitive mainly to radiation with wavelengths longer than approximately 4 micrometers. The experiment was a success, and usable data were received from July 12, 1961, to October 20, 1961. Identical experiments were flown on TIROS 4 and 7, and a similar one was carried on Explorer 7. From: Compendium of meteorological space programs, satellites, and experiments. NSSDC Publication no.88-03. NASA, 1988.

1966-01-01 00:00:00

Flat Plate Radiometer - TIROS and ITOS

The Flat Plate Radiometer (FPR) subsystems were designed to measure the earth's heat balance from the vantage point of the ITOS earth-oriented platform. The FPR was designed and built by the University of Wisconsin-Madison Space Science and Engineering Center for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/National Environmental Satellite Service under Contract D-75-66(N). The entire FPR was contained in a single enclosure mounted exterior to and on the spacecraft earth-oreinted surface. The major components were the housing, constructed of sandwich honeycomb, four sensors, a cooling mirror for one pair of sensors, and the electronics. From Flat Plate Radiometer Subsystem for ITOS Space Craft Credit:

1966-12-07 12:23:33


Launched on December 7, 1966, the Applications Technology Satellite-I, was a communications satellite as well as the first geostationary satellite. It carried Verner Suomi and Robert Parent's Spin-Scan Cloud Camera (SSCC), the technology that made it possible to view Earth from geosynchronous orbit. The launch of ATS-I ushered in the era of continuous viewing of weather from space. Suomi understood the benefits of observing a single weather phenomenon over time. These kinds of observations were not possible using the early, low-altitude polar-orbiting satellites. Identical experiments were flown on the ESSA 5, ESSA 7, and ESSA 9 spacecrafts. The radiometer performed normally, and good data was obtained from launch until the tape recorder failed on January 20, 1967. credit: SSEC

1967-01-01 11:34:40

VIL: Volume Imaging Lidar

Designed at SSEC, the Volume Imaging Lidar (VIL) is an elastic aerosol backscatter lidar designed to image the four-dimensional structure of the atmosphere. The VIL uses computer-controlled scanning that, with continuous pulses, creates an image of a large volume of sky at one time. Averaged wind measurements can be accurately deduced from the VIL images, providing important information for numerical models. [Ed Eloranta, 2007]

1967-11-05 12:23:33


Launched on November 5, 1967, the Applications Technology Satellite (ATS)-III carried the Multicolor Spin-Scan Cloudcover Camera (MSSCC), the second generation of UW-Madison professor Verner Suomi's revolutionary technology. It sent the first color images of Earth from geostationary orbit -- ATS-III was the only geostationary satellite with a channel for observing phenomena in true blue color, which was, and remains, a unique feature for a weather satellite. The camera provided color pictures for approximately three months at which time the red and blue channels failed. The system continued to transmit black-and-white pictures until December, 11 1974. credit: SSEC.

1970-01-01 10:29:36

Blackbody calibration instruments

To advance the performance of infrared remote sensing instruments, SSEC has developed several infrared spectrometers that incorporate blackbody calibration sources as a fundamental part of the instrument to provide self-calibration during normal operation. These infrared spectrometers are used primarily for measuring the intensity of the Earth atmospheric radiation at different wavelengths. [from Fred Best, 2007]

1970-01-01 12:36:35

SDI: SSEC Data Ingestor

The SSEC Desktop Ingestor (SDI) is a hardware and software package that receives and processes satellite data on a PC workstation running a Unix operating system. Currently, SDI receives and processes data from POES, GVAR, Meteosat, DMSP and GMS satellites, and the NOAAPORT satellite broadcast. [SSEC]

1971-01-01 20:44:27

BLIS: Boundary Layer Instrumentation System

Designed and built at the Space Science and Engineering Center, the Boundary Layer Instrumentation System (BLIS) was part of the Global Atmospheric Research Program (GARP) and was designed specifically to meet the observational requirements of GARP's Atlantic Tropical Experiment (GATE). The system was designed to measure temperature, humidity, pressure altitude and the total wind vector (speed and direction of both vertical and horizontal components) in the lower 1500 meters of the atmosphere. BLIS consisted of five Boundary Layer Instrument Packages (BLIPs), attached to a tether line suspended from a helium-filled balloon 1500 meters above sea level. The tether line was payed out from a shipboard winch. Data is telemetered from the BLIPs to an on-board Portable Data Acquisition System (PODAS), or to a smaller ground station. Excerpted from BLIS: The Boundary Layer Instrumentation System

1972-01-01 20:44:27


Dr. Verner Suomi obtained funding from NASA and NOAA to implement a proof-of-concept system dedicated to measuring and visualizing cloud drift winds. The new computer system had to allow the user to specify the image coordinates of a cloud in at least three successive images. Since the digital images were stored on computer tape, a method was required to map and display coordinates to and from tape. The proof-of-concept system used to demonstrate winds processing was called WINDCO (Lazzara, 1999). WINDCO was a precursor to the Man computer Interactive Data Access System (McIDAS).

1975-05-01 16:29:54

OSO-8: Orbiting Solar Observatory soft X-ray experiment

The OSO-8 housed the instrument for the Soft X-Ray Background Radiation Experiment devised by UW-Madison Physics Professor William Kraushaar. SSEC Engineers developed and built the instrument which consisted of three proportional x-ray counters. The maps generated from this experiment provided the first comprehensive survey of the low energy x-ray sky. [Evan Richards, 2007]

1977-01-01 00:00:00

HSP: High-Speed Photometer

The HSP was one of the Hubble Space Telescope's five initial instruments. Developed and built by SSEC in collaboration with Professor Robert Bless of UW-Madison's Space Astronomy Laboratory, this instrument took precise measurements of variations in visible light at speeds up to 100,000 observations per second. The HSP provided the first high resolution light curves of a supernova remnant and even years later was providing archived evidence that confirmed the existence of black holes. [Evan Richards, 2007]The HSP was sacrificed to make room for the device intended to correct the catastrophic error in the primary mirror. When the HSP was removed to make room for COSTAR, it was the only instrument on board not to have suffered a failure of a major subsystem.

1978-01-01 00:00:00

TOVS – TIROS Operational Vertical Sounder

“TIROS-N was an operational meteorological satellite for use in the National Operational Environmental Satellite System (NOESS) and for the support of the Global Atmospheric Research Program (GARP) during 1978-84. The satellite design provided an economical and stable sun-synchronous platform for advanced operational instruments to measure the earth's atmosphere, its surface and cloudcover, and the near-space environment. Primary sensors included an advanced very high resolution radiometer (AVHRR) for observing daytime and nighttime global cloud cover, and a TIROS operational vertical sounder (TOVS) for obtaining temperature and water-vapor profiles through the earth's atmosphere.” From the National Space Science Data Center: TIROS-N launch date 13 October 1978 The TIROS-N/NOAA satellite series continue to provide daily observations of the world's weather. TIROS-N/NOAA Program Satellites: * TIROS-N 1978 - 1981 * TIROS-N/NOAA 6 1978 - 1981 * TIROS-N/NOAA B 1980 Failed * TIROS-N/NOAA 7 1981 - 1986 * TIROS-N/NOAA 8 1983 - 1985 * TIROS-N/NOAA 9 1984 - 1993, 1997 - 1998 * TIROS-N/NOAA 10 1986 - 1991 * TIROS-N/NOAA 11 1988 - 1994, 1997 - Present * TIROS-N/NOAA 12 1991 - Present * TIROS-N/NOAA 13 1993 Failed * TIROS-N/NOAA 14 1994 - Present * TIROS-N/NOAA 15 1998 – Present from

1978-05-01 16:29:54

Pioneer Venus Net Flux Radiometer (NFR)

The objectives were to locate regions of radiative covergence and divergence as a function of altitude and to indicate the height at which solar energy is absorbed by the atmosphere. This experiment used a small net flux radiometer on the Probe targeted to the dayside of Venus to measure the net solar flux in the 0.2 to 4 micrometer region. The two Probes targeted to the nightside of the planet carried net infrared flux sensors covering the 1 to 25 micrometer region. The instrument weighed about 0.4 kg and used 2.2 W of power. From NSSDC Master Catalog

1980-01-01 00:00:00

HSRL: High Spectral Resolution Lidar

Small scale atmospheric features that last only half an hour are hard to put into forecast models, but are necessary for model accuracy. Scientists at UW-Madison's Space Science and Engineering Center develop instruments using LIght Detection And Ranging, or Lidar, to make highly detailed atmospheric measurements that are used in numerical model development. The High Spectral Resolution Lidar (HSRL), which makes calibrated measurements of backscatter, can "see" even more, since the beam of light returning to the observer can be split, and backscattering and attenuation components can be compared for an accurate view of individual objects within its view. In addition, the HSRL is being developed for use in the Arctic. text from

1980-01-01 00:00:00

AWS: Automatic Weather Stations

With funding from the National Science Foundation, Office for Polar Programs, the University of Wisconsin-Madison has roughly 63 automatic weather station (AWS) sites active in Antarctica. That is more than half of all AWS systems currently deployed in the Antarctic. The AWS network fulfills several roles in support of research activities (by the UW-Madison and other research institutions both nationally and internationally), support of non-meteorological research (such as glaciological studies that are the focus of ice core activities in the Antarctic and the study of tabular icebergs), and operational activities such as weather forecasting. [text from]

1980-06-01 00:00:00

Galileo Net Flux Radiometer (NFR)

The Galileo Net Flux Radiometer (NFR) is a probe instrument designed to measure net radiation flux and upward flux in five spectral bans during descent into the Jovian atmosphere. Solar energy deposition and planetary radiation losses from the 0.1 bar level to at least the 10 bar level will be measured to assess the nature of radiative drive for atmospheric motions, the location of clouds and hazes, and the amount of water vapor. SSEC Publication No.99.06.S1.

1981-01-01 10:29:36

HIS: High-resolution Interferometer Sounder

UW-Madison Space Science and Engineering Center, working with industry, NOAA and NASA, led the design of the High-resolution Interferometer Sounder (HIS), the first hyperspectral GOES sounder, an instrument used to vertically probe the atmosphere. The High-resolution Interferometer Sounder (HIS) is an interferometer which measures emitted thermal radiation at high spectral resolution between 3.3 and 18 microns (specifications). The measured emitted radiance is used to obtain temperature and water vapor profiles of the Earth's atmosphere. HIS produces sounding data with 2 kilometer resolution (at nadir) from a nominal altitude of 20 kilometers onboard a NASA ER-2 aircraft.

1991-11-11 00:00:00

AERI: Atmospheric Emitted Radiance Interferometer

"The Atmospheric Emitted Radiance Interferometer (AERI) is a ground-based instrument that measures the downwelling infrared radiance (radiant energy) from the Earth’s atmosphere. The observations have broad spectral content, and sufficient spectral resolution to discriminate among gaseous emitters (e.g. carbon dioxide, water vapor) and suspended matter (e.g. aerosols, water droplets, ice crystals). These uplooking surface observations can be used to obtain vertical profiles of tropospheric temperature and water vapor, as well as measurements of trace gases (e.g. ozone, carbon monoxide, methane) and downwelling infrared spectral signatures of clouds and aerosols. " AERI observations are often used to validate and calibrate satellite observations. Text from “The AERI was designed by the University of Wisconsin Space Science and Engineering Center (UW-SSEC) for the Department of Energy (DOE) Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) program in the 1990s. The AERI instrument played an essential role in the success of the ARM program by providing an accurate reference in tropical, mid-latitude continental, and arctic atmospheres for the validation of infrared radiative transfer models used in climate models. AERI instruments have since been deployed worldwide.” AERI observations are often used to validate and calibrate satellite observations. Text from Instrument homepage: In the news: GOES & AERI and 1999 Oklahoma tornado:

1992-01-01 00:00:00

AMRC: Antarctic Meteorological Research Center

The development of the Antarctic Meteorological Research Center (AMRC) was a marriage between the AWS project and the Man computer Interactive Data Access System (McIDAS) project, also at the UW-Madison. The need for improved Antarctic forecasts and the potential to develop a mosaic of satellite imagery from both geostationary and polar orbiting satellites over the Antarctic drove the formation of two groups: One that provided weather forecasts in support of research vessels in Antarctic waters, the Antarctic Meteorological Forecasting Center (AMFC), and one that focused on the development of composite satellite imagery and Antarctic meteorological data collection, distribution and archiving, the AMRC. The AMFC provided forecasts for USAP research vessels for several years before the NSF retired this activity and eventually moved it to the United States Naval Warfare System Center (SPAWAR) Office of Polar Programs. While the AMFC no longer exists, the AMRC continues to: create Antarctic satellite composites; conduct scientific research with those composites and other observational datasets; collect, distribute and archive Antarctic data; and promote Antarctic science through educational outreach activities. text from :

1993-01-13 00:00:00

DXS: Diffuse X-ray Spectrometer

The Diffuse X-ray Spectrometer (DXS) was a Spacelab payload. It flew as an attached Shuttle payload on the STS-54 mission. The primary scientific objective of the DXS experiment was to determine if the low energy x-ray diffuse background emission was thermal by determining if there were emission lines in its spectrum. Other important objectives were to determine if the plasma was in thermal equilibrium, to find the temperature of the plasma, to learn which chemical elements were the dominant emitters, and to determine the degree of depletion or enrichment of these elements in the emitting plasma relative to "standard" cosmic abundances. From Spacelab Diffuse Soft X-ray Bragg Spectrometer (DXS) [Final Report]

1994-06-01 14:04:28

WIYN Telescope

Engineers at the Space Science and Engineering Center designed and constructed the control system for the WIYN Telescope on Kitt Peak. The system introduced the capability for remote observation and control. WIYN is a consortium of Wisconsin, Indiana, and Yale universities and the National Optical Astronomy Observatories. [Richards, 2007]

1995-01-01 00:00:00

MODIS Airborne Simulator

“The MODIS Airborne Simulator (MAS), which flies onboard the NASA ER-2 high altitude aircraft, currently supports product development and validation efforts for two satellite-based instruments, the MODerate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) and the Atmospheric InfraRed Sounder. Prior to the launch of MODIS in 1999, MAS was used in several field campaigns as a testbed for developing and testing MODIS cloud products. Scientists use MAS data to assess the accuracy of MODIS measurements, how well MODIS can detect clouds, and to determine cloud height and the contents of cloud particles. MAS data sets are also used with other instruments to support research on cloud detection and characterization, land surface emission, and water turbidity. MAS continues to support validation efforts for future satellite-based instruments.” text from

1995-06-01 00:00:00

S-HIS: Scanning High-resolution Interferometer Sounder

The Scanning High-resolution Interferometer Sounder (S-HIS), designed and built at the Space Science and Engineering Center, measures emitted thermal radiation at high spectral resolution between 3.3 and 18 microns. The S-HIS builds on the 15+ years of SSEC experience in interferometry. The radiance measurements are used to obtain temperature and water vapor profiles of the Earth's atmosphere. S-HIS produces sounding data (vertical profiles of temperature and other parameters) with 2 kilometer resolution (at nadir) across a 40 kilometer ground swath from a nominal altitude of 20 kilometers onboard a NASA ER-2 aircraft or 20 kilometer ground swath from a nominal altitude of 10 kilometers aboard the NASA DC-8 aircraft.

1996-05-01 16:29:54

SOHFI: Skin-Layer Ocean Heat Flux Instrument

Developed at the Space Science and Engineering Center, the Skin-Layer Ocean Heat Flux Instrument (SOHFI) consisted of two simple thermopile heat flux sensors suspended by a fiberglass mesh mounted inside a ring-shaped surface float. These sensors made direct measurements within the conduction layer, where they were held in place by a balance between surface tension and float buoyancy. The two sensors were designed with differing solar absorption properties so that surface heat flux could be distinguished from direct solar irradiance. SSEC

1998-01-01 00:00:00

ADR: Adiabatic Demagnetization Refrigerator

The Adiabatic Demagnetization Refrigerator (ADR) flew on the Astro-E satellite, a joint Japanese-NASA X-ray astronomy project. The instrument was designed to cool one of the astrophysics satellite's X-ray detectors down to almost absolute zero. At such low temperatures, the heat generated by a single X-ray photon can be detected and measured. "An ADR works by first using a large magnet to align the magnetic poles (spins) of all the molecules in a block of salt (called the salt pill). The salt pill is then connected to a liquid helium bath via a "heat switch", allowing it to cool to the temperature of the liquid helium (about 1.5 Kelvin). Once it has reached equilibrium with the helium, the heat switch is opened, so that heat can no longer flow between the salt pill and the helium. Once the heat switch is open, the magnetic field is slowly reduced nearly to zero, allowing the spins of the salt molecules to flop around in random directions. This absorbs heat from the salt pill, cooling it. (Source:

1998-01-01 12:23:33


The AERIbago is a modified 1994 Winnebago designed to deploy multiple weather instruments easily and quickly. The AERIbago contained an Atmospheric Emitted Radiance Interferometer (AERI) instrument, ceilometer, surface station, radiosonde launch receiver, and GPS total precipitable water antennas. The vehicle participated in many field experiments including those in the Utah desert, Andros Island (Bahamas), and farm fields in Oklahoma, and was replaced by the SSEC Portable Atmospheric Research Center (SPARC) in 2014. Credit: SSEC

1998-01-01 20:44:27

NAST-I: National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) Aircraft Sounding Testbed-Interferometer

The National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) Aircraft Sounding Testbed-Interferometer (NAST-I) is a high spectral resolution Michelson interferometer created at MIT Lincoln Laboratory and based on the High resolution Interferometer Sounder developed by researchers at the UW-Madison Space Science and Engineering Center. The instrument measures the infrared spectrum between 4 and 15 microns, providing highly accurate spectra, which can be used to infer vertical profiles of atmospheric temperature, moisture and other trace constituents. The NAST-I instrument flies on NASA's high altitude research aircraft, the ER-2, and scans the earth from beneath the aircraft with a nominal spatial resolution of approximately 2.5 km and a swath width of about 45 km. NAST-I plays a key role in the evaluation of instrument technologies and satellite data processing techniques for inclusion in future advanced NPOESS weather satellites. In performing this role, NAST-I is advancing infrared sounder technology with the goal of improved operational weather forecasts. SSEC scientists are supporting NAST-I efforts by participating in field experiments, providing instrument calibration, conducting research using data collected by NAST-I, and using experience with NAST-I to assist in the design of future instruments. [SSEC]

1999-01-01 00:00:00

GIFTS: Geostationary Imaging Fourier Transform Spectrometer

The Geostationary Imaging Fourier Transform Spectrometer (GIFTS) project involves new imager/sounder instrument technology that will revolutionize our ability to measure, understand, and predict the earth-atmosphere system. The NASA New Millennium program funds GIFTS instrument development; NOAA provides data management and algorithm support, using experience with GIFTS to reduce risk as they prepare for GOES-R, the next generation of operational instruments. CIMSS plays an integral role in the development and success of the program, from instrument studies to data processing and management to applications software that extracts atmospheric and surface information from the measurements. Credit:

2000-06-01 00:00:00

Hiaper HRL: High-performance Instrumented Airborne Platform for Environmental Research

In 1998 the NSF added the High-Performance Instrumented Airborne Platform for Environmental Research aircraft to its fleet. The plane will be able to explore the tropopause, “the area between the upper and lower atmospheres that features a vital exchange of solar energy and contains the tops of thunderstorms and hurricanes.” The University of Wisconsin-Madison was contracted to construct a High Resolution Lidar to remotely sense the air column beneath the aircraft. Credit: SSEC

2001-01-01 00:00:00

ICDS Enhanced Hot Water Drill

"Ice Coring and Drilling Services (ICDS) provides support for NSF-sponsored cold-regions research in both polar regions and at high altitudes." [text above from their website] "The university also designed and built the Enhanced Hot Water Drill, which was assembled at the Physical Sciences Laboratory in Stoughton, Wis. The 4.8-megawatt hot-water drill is a unique machine capable of penetrating more than two kilometers into the ice in less than two days." [text above from]

2001-01-01 16:29:54

PIFTS: Planetary Imaging Fourier Transform Spectrometer

The Planetary Imaging Fourier Transform Spectrometer (PIFTS), developed at SSEC, provided a test bed for the design of future hyperspectral imagers. PIFTS facilitated the development of future satellite instruments by evaluating instrument design trades, calibration procedures, and data handling algorithms involved in imaging systems that use Fourier Transform Spectrometry. [SSEC]

2004-01-01 11:34:40

AHSRL: Arctic High Spectral Resolution Lidar

Designed and built at SSEC, the Arctic HSRL is an automated, more complex version of the HSRL. The instrument participated in the DOE's Mixed-Phases Arctic Cloud Experiment (M-PACE), a month-long study of Arctic clouds. Data retrieved was used to augment climate models. It was also used to calibrate the lidar on NASA's ICEsat as it flew above UW-Madison and the AOSS building. [Ed Eloranta, 2007]

2005-01-01 10:29:36


The Climate Absolute Radiance and Refractivity Observatory (CLARREO) mission, led and developed by NASA and partner organizations, including the Space Science and Engineering Center, will monitor the pulse of the Earth to better understand climate change.The earliest satellite measurements of the Earth’s environment extend back to Verner Suomi’s ground-breaking radiation budget experiment launched on the Explorer 7 satellite in 1959. From that initial study until today, satellite instruments have been measuring the total, wavelength-averaged solar and infrared contributions to assess the energy balance of the planet. In contrast, CLARREO’s instruments will provide full spectra of both the solar-reflected and infrared-emitted radiances that contain much more information about the detailed structure of the climate state. These high spectral resolution radiances, along with atmospheric refractivity from GPS occultation, will be used to test climate model predictions with greater sensitivity to decadal changes. Since 2008, SSEC scientists and engineers have developed and thoroughly tested a prototype of the new infrared instrumentation needed for CLARREO. The successful prototype consists of a Calibrated Fourier Transform Spectrometer with especially low biases and a system to verify and test the spectrometer directly on orbit. SSEC’s diligence has resulted in a milestone achievement for CLARREO. In September 2013, NASA’s Earth Science Technology Office announced that SSEC’s prototype for the CLARREO infrared instrumentation achieved the ‘technological readiness’ to proceed with a spaceflight mission. A key part of CLARREO’s on-orbit verification and test system is the On-Orbit Absolute Radiance Standard (OARS) that uses multiple phase change cells for absolute temperature calibration. The CLARREO mission will provide accurate, credible, and tested climate records that lay the groundwork for informed decisions on mitigation and adaptation policies that address the effects of climate change on society. From:

2008-01-01 00:00:00


The Ice Drilling Program Office (IDPO) and the Ice Drilling Design and Operations (IDDO) group were established by the National Science Foundation (NSF) starting in October 2008 to coordinate long-term and short-term planning in collaboration with the greater US ice science community and to provide ice drilling and ice coring support and expertise for NSF-funded research. The IDDO provides engineering design support for new drilling systems as well as the operation and maintenance of existing drill systems. [above text from their website] "On 31 December 2011, the Deep Ice Sheet Coring (DISC) drill reached a depth of 3405.077 meters (11,171.5 feet). Developed by engineers of IDDO, the drill broke the previous record of 3331 meters set by the team the previous February. The precision drill also set records for the quality of ice core retrieved. The DISC drill is a tethered mechanical drill system, essentially a rotating hollow tube with four razor-sharp blades at its cutting end. The drill is designed to retrieve cores of ice from depths of up to 4,000 meters, the limit of its suspending cable." - [text above and photos at:

2013-01-01 00:00:00

IDDO Replicate Drill

The Replicate Coring technique was developed and tested by the IDDO engineers as part of the Deep Ice Sheet Coring (DISC) Drill. The IDDO engineers designed actuators that were placed along the shaft of the drill and which apply lateral pressure against the side of the borehole, slightly altering the orientation of the drill head. A new borehole is started and, within about 30 meters of drilling, becomes a unique and separate path. - See more at:

2014-05-01 11:34:40

SPARC: SSEC Portable Atmospheric Research Center

The SSEC Portable Atmospheric Research Center (SPARC) is specially designed to carry instruments to study the atmosphere and make surface emissivity measurements. SPARC is outfitted with an extensive instrument suite, including: an Atmospheric Emitted Radiance Interferometer (AERI), a High Spectral Resolution Lidar (HSRL), a Vaisala ceilometer, a meteorology surface station, a radiosonde launch receiver, and a GPS total precipitable water instrument. SSEC retired its previous mobile lab, the AERIbago, after 20 years of service.

SSEC Instrument Developments

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