Atmospheric Remote Sensing on the International Space Station



The Remote Atmospheric and Ionospheric Detection System (RAIDS) is a new NASA experiment studying the Earth's thermosphere and ionosphere from a vantage point on the International Space Station (ISS). The RAIDS mission focuses on the coupling and transition from the coldest part of the atmosphere, the mesopause near 85 kilometers, up to the hottest regions of the thermosphere, above 300 kilometers in altitude. Built jointly by the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) and The Aerospace Corporation, RAIDS also is serving as a pathfinder experiment for atmospheric remote sensing aboard the ISS. RAIDS and a companion experiment, NRL's Hyperspectral Imager for the Coastal Ocean (HICO), make up the HICO-RAIDS Experiment Payload (HREP), the first U.S. payload on the Japanese Experiment Module—Exposed Facility (JEM-EF). The experience developing and operating RAIDS for this mission provides useful insights for utilizing the ISS as a platform for atmospheric science.