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NASA Facts QuikTOMS Quick Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer

NASA Facts QuikTOMS Quick Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer

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Published by: Bob Andrepont on Feb 16, 2011
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The Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer(TOMS) is the primary instrument for studyingatmospheric ozone on a global scale. NationalAeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)scientists use the TOMS instrument to continu-ously monitor changes of the Antarctic ozonehole, local ozone levels, and global ozone.TOMS also measures sulfur dioxide and ashfrom large volcanic eruptions, smoke from for-est fires and from forest clearing in the tropicalrain forests, and the flux of ultraviolet radiationreaching the Earth’s surface. The U.S. FederalAviation Administration (FAA) is using thesemeasurements to prevent aircraft from flyingthrough volcanic ash clouds.In July 1999, NASA selected Orbital Sci-ences Corporation (Orbital) to build, launch andoperate the Quick Total Ozone Mapping Spec-trometer (QuikTOMS), so named since theQuikTOMS effort entailed the construction andlaunch of a spacecraft in less that two years ascompared to traditional missions which takefrom three to five years. QuikTOMS was pro-cured by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center’s(GSFC) Rapid Spacecraft Development Office(RSDO) and is managed by the GSFCQuikTOMS Project Office.
Ozone Research
Ozone absorbs virtually all of the Sun’s ra-diation in the biologically harmful ultraviolet(UV) wavelength range of 200-310 nanometers(nm). Ultraviolet radiation can cause sunburnand, more seriously, skin cancer, and cataracts.It also damages many other life forms. The de-cline in global ozone levels, and the discoveryof the Antarctic ozone hole, has placed urgentemphasis on monitoring ozone change.Ozone data must be collected over an ex-tended time period in order to separate human-forced changes from natural atmospheric varia-tions and to help quantify the individual roles
National Aeronautics andSpace Administration
Goddard Space Flight Center
Greenbelt, Maryland 20771(301) 286-8955
QuikTOMSQuick Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer
The QuikTOMS Spacecraft 
of these factors. Maintaining global, carefullycalibrated ozone measurements over decades iscritical for verifying ozone depletion and the ex-pected ozone recovery. These tasks are centralchallenges of stratospheric research today.Atmospheric ozone is controlled by a com-bination of radiative, chemical and dynamicalprocesses. Ozone plays an important role in theseof processes, coupling them in a complex set of feedback mechanisms. Among the factors thataffect ozone amounts are variations induced by:(1) atmospheric dynamics (stratosphericweather); (2) solar variations; (3) human pro-duced gases such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs)and halons; and (4) volcanic eruptions.
Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometerand Data
TOMS is a second-generation, ozone-sound-ing instrument derived from the BackscatterUltraviolet (BUV) Spectrometer flown aboardNASA’s Nimbus-4 satellite in 1970. The firstTOMS instrument was launched aboard Nim-bus 7 in 1978. The Nimbus-7 TOMS operatedalmost continuously since its launch until itsfailure in 1993, providing more than 13 yearsof global, daily maps of total ozone. The Me-teor-3 TOMS, ADEOS TOMS and the EarthProbe TOMS followed the Nimbus-7 TOMS.The current operational instrument, Earth ProbeTOMS, is approaching its fifth year in orbit andQuikTOMS will replace this aging satellite.The QuikTOMS instrument will continuethese measurements of total ozone. These mea-surements will allow scientists to separatechanges of global ozone caused by natural pro-cesses from trends due to CFCs, halons, andother trace gases. For example, theory predictsthat long-term variations of the UV output of the Sun will affect total ozone. However, iden-tifying these variations requires data extendingover periods longer than a decade. With this in-formation, scientists can begin to predict howhuman activity affects the environment.Another important use of TOMS data willbe to study changes of biologically active UVradiation that accompanies the decrease of glo-bal ozone. The TOMS measurements are usedto determine the flux of ultraviolet sunlight ateach point on the Earth’s surface at wavelengthsthat affect both plants and animals. TOMS pro-vides the information necessary for estimatingbiologically active UV radiation at the Earth’ssurface as a function of location and time of year.Although the TOMS data will be used pri-marily to study ozone, the information gainedfrom TOMS will also contribute to volcanicstudies. Volcanoes generate sulfur dioxide(SO2) in the Earth’s atmosphere and TOMS canmap this gas. This gas is rapidly transformedinto sulfate aerosols, which may persist in thestratosphere for months to years. Its effects inthe stratosphere include the red sunsets that fol-low major volcanic eruptions, and these effectsmay be associated with climate change. TOMSdata on volcanic eruptions will make valuablecontributions to studies in several disciplines,including volcanology, meteorology and atmo-spheric chemistry.The TOMS data has many other applications.The total ozone pattern measured by TOMS canbe used in studies of severe storms to infer thecirculation patterns of the jet stream that stronglyaffect our weather. TOMS ozone data can alsobe used for comparison with ground stations,atmospheric correction of ocean color measure-ments of pigment concentrations, studies of theUV reflectivity of Earth’s surface, and develop-ment of cloud climatology.
Program History
The first TOMS instrument was launched inOctober 1978 as part of the package of the So-lar Backscattered Ultraviolet and Total OzoneMapping Spectrometer (SBUV/TOMS) on Nim-bus-7, and operated until May 1993. The engi-neering model of Nimbus-7 TOMS was refur-
bished and flown aboard Meteor-3 in August1991. Meteor-3/TOMS provided critical scien-tific data until December 1994.A new series of TOMS instruments was de-veloped to monitor the long-term trend of glo-bal total ozone and to continue the study of ozone loss and the Antarctic ozone hole. Thefirst of these, Earth Probe TOMS, was launchedaboard Earth Probe (EP) in July 1996, and isstill operating. A TOMS instrument was alsolaunched aboard the Japanese ADEOS satellite,in August 1996: and operated until June 1997when the satellite’s solar array failed.On June 17, 1992, the United States and theRussian Federation signed an agreement con-cerning cooperation in the exploration and useof outer space for peaceful purposes. In Decem-ber 1994, NASA and the Russian Space Agency(RSA) signed an agreement to fly a TOMSaboard a Russian Meteor-3M spacecraft. How-ever, because of delays, NASA and RSA agreedto halt cooperation on the mission. In order tomeet the critical science window, the primaryscience objectives of NASA, and the environ-mental information needs of the internationalcommunity, QuikTOMS was conceived.
Science Objectives
The primary science objective of NASA’sTOMS mission is to continue the ongoing mea-surements of the Earth’s atmospheric ozone be-gun with Nimbus 7 in 1978 and currently beingmeasured by the NASA Earth Probe (EP)/TOMSmission.Secondary mission objectives are to: mea-sure ultraviolet absorbing tropospheric aerosols;detect and measure non-absorbing aerosol pol-lution plumes; estimate surface ultraviolet irra-diance and reflectivity; and detect and measurevolcanic emissions to assist the U.S. FederalAviation Administration (FAA).
QuikTOMS Management
NASA Headquarter’s Office of Earth Sci-ence (OES) manages the overall Earth Explorerand TOMS programs. The Earth Explorers Pro-gram Office is responsible for the managementof all Earth Explorers Projects assigned toGoddard, which includes the QuikTOMSProject. The QuikTOMS Project Office is re-sponsible for the management of the QuikTOMSmission through definition, development, inte-gration and test, launch and on-orbit checkout.The TOMS program is managed by NASA’sGoddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, and ispart of NASA’s Earth Science Enterprise, a co-ordinated research effort to study the Earth as aglobal environmental system.
Mission Operations
QuikTOMS is a free-flying spacecraft withits own orbit adjust subsystem. It will belaunched into an intermediate parking orbit,from which it will be raised by a series of orbit-adjust burns, to its operational Sun-synchronousorbit of 500 miles (800km). As soon as thespacecraft separates from the launch vehicle, apreprogrammed sequence of commands will beinitiated to deploy the solar arrays and transi-tion the spacecraft to safe mode.
The QuikTOMS Spacecraft during thermal vacuumtest preparations at Orbital's Environmental Test Facility in Germantown, Maryland.

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