Our commerce, economy, safety and security all depend on how accurately we can predict the weather.
For several decades, Ball Aerospace has been on the cutting edge of developing space-based LIDAR technology for new science, tactical and commercial applications – with a proven track record of delivering LIDAR that goes beyond expectations in terms of accuracy, lifespan, and scientific impact.
Ball's deep heritage in wind LIDAR technology development offers scientists and weather forecasters a simpler, more cost-effective path to global wind measurements – resulting in more accurate weather forecasting.
Filling the Greatest Unmet Need: 3D Winds
Ball continues this heritage by advancing the Optical Autocovariance Wind LIDAR (OAWL) technology, which is expected to produce wind profile measurements over more than 80 percent of Earth’s surface, and providing twice as many measurements as current systems allow while meeting a critical observational need. This will give forecasters access to high quality 3D measurements of horizontal winds for the very first time, increasing our understanding of weather, water and energy cycles, and climate processes and variability.
Ball’s OAWL leverages heritage technologies from the CALIPSO mission, and has flown on NASA-sponsored test flights to push the system closer to a space-based mission. Together with grant funding from NASA, Ball has designed, built and validated multiple versions of the OAWL system, including the ATHENA-OAWL Airborne Demonstrator, the Green-OAWL (GrOAWL) which recently flew on the NASA WB-57 jet.
ATHENA- OAWL EVI-4 Proposal
International Space Station orbit
The ATHENA-OAWL (Atmospheric Transport, Hurricanes, and Extratropical Numerical weAther prediction using the Optical Autocovariance Wind Lidar) mission would significantly increase our knowledge of atmospheric dynamics by providing high quality wind profile measurements with regular horizontal distribution over 80% of the Earth’s surface. This will provide more than 10 times more wind profile measurements across the oceans than the current measurement systems, and extend the useful forecast range by at least four hours.
- ATHENA-OAWL EVI-4 Proposal. Click here to learn more about the ATHENA-OAWL mission.