Call letter: Appendix E

Appendix E

NASA Facility Instruments and Science Support Assets

Update: July 06, 2021

Several remote sensing systems are considered as NASA facility instruments, in part because they support multiple science disciplines and a variety of NASA science objectives. They are supported by managers in the ESD Research and Analysis program, and/or the EOS Project Science Office, and are made available to the wider NASA science community via the Flight Request process. In most cases, instrument and Science Support Assets operating and data processing costs are recovered from the requesting individual or their sponsors.


Facility Instruments Contact Telephone
AVIRIS (C and NG) Airborne Visible Infrared Imaging Spectrometer. C-Classic and NG-Next Generation Robert Green (818) 354-9136
eMAS, Enhanced MODIS Airborne Simulator James Jacobson (650) 526-2331
LVIS,Land, Vegetation, and Ice Sensor Bryan Blair (301) 614-6741
MASTER MODIS-ASTER Simulator James Jacobson (650) 526-2331
NAST-I, National Airborne Sounder Testbed-Interferometer Anna Noe (757) 864-6466
UAVSAR, UAV Synthetic Aperture Radar Yunling Lou (818) 354-2647
Science Support Assets
DMS, Digital Mapping System James Jacobson (650) 526-2331
  • NASA Instrument Concurrence by Hank Margolis is required for the use of AVIRIS-C and AVIRIS-NG.
  • NASA Instrument Concurrence by Craig Dobson is required for the use of UAVSAR.


JPL operates the AVIRIS-C (Classic) and AVIRIS-NG (Next Generation) Imaging Spectrometers, which are available as NASA facility instruments for scientific research and applications. Investigators are expected to pay for JPL Imaging Spectrometer data acquisition, calibration, engineering support and processing costs associated with their investigations. If JPL Imaging Spectrometers are required as part of an approved proposal, then these costs should be included in the proposal budget or reserved for this purpose at NASA Headquarters. Please contact your Technical Monitor if you have any questions about this. If your JPL Imaging Spectrometer requirements are new and were not in the originally selected proposal, then resources must be found within your existing budget or secured through an augmentation request to your Technical Monitor or Program Manager at NASA Headquarters.  

AVIRIS-NG is a facility instrument available for research campaigns using the commercial Twin Otter, King Air, NASA ER-2 platforms and is available for integration on the Gulfstream V. AVIRIS-C is also flying on the NASA ER-2 on a regular basis as part of the HyspIRI Airborne Preparatory Campaign. AVIRIS-C can be flown on the Twin Otter for particular investigations or AVIRIS-NG can be used for flying higher spectral and spatial sampling collections for Visible to Shortwave IR imaging spectroscopy (380 to 2510 nm). Furthermore, scenes from the AVIRIS-C archive (i.e., data that have already been acquired) can be obtained here.  AVIRIS-NG data archive and details can be found here.


The MODIS/ASTER airborne simulator (MASTER) is currently available for flights aboard the NASA ER-2.  It may also be integrated on the DC-8 or the P-3B, although it’s expected to fly mainly on the ER-2 in FY20.  The enhanced MODIS simulator (eMAS) is currently available; please contact James Jacobson for more information. The calibration and data processing (Level-1b and geolocation) are supported by the Airborne Sensor Facility at NASA Ames Research Center. Higher-level products are possible in some instances. These are supported separately by the eMAS science POC (Dr. Steven Platnick), the MASTER instrument PI (Dr. Simon Hook), or other research teams and should not be assumed in any Flight Request.

Additional information on eMAS or MASTER can be obtained from: James Jacobson, Use/Cost Policies: Dr. Steven Platnick (see Appendix C), instrument and FY2020 Schedule:  James Jacobson.


UAVSAR/L-band: The Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle Synthetic Aperture Radar (UAVSAR), a high resolution, fully polarimetric, L-band SAR designed for repeat pass InSAR applications, is available as a NASA facility instrument for scientific research and applications. Investigators are expected to pay for UAVSAR data acquisition and processing costs associated with their investigations, unless they were approved as part of the original proposal selection. These costs should already be provided for in your budget or reserved for this purpose at NASA Headquarters. UAVSAR currently flies on the C20-A and JSC’s G-III aircraft and has also flown test flights on the Global Hawk.

UAVSAR/P-Band/AirMOSS and UAVSAR/Ka-Band/GLISTIN-A: UAVSAR can also be configured to operate in P-band (also known as AirMOSS) or Ka-band (also known as GLISTIN-A).  The P-band and Ka-band instruments are part of the UAVSAR facility instrument suite and users may request these instruments through SOFRS by selecting UAVSAR and adding the specific frequency (Ka-band or P-band) in the comment field. 

All UAVSAR Flight Requests should clearly identify: (i) a target data collection window (ii) the desired instrument (UAVSAR L-band, P-band, or Ka-band) and (iii) a preliminary flight plan. Flight plans can be prepared using the UAVSAR Flight Planning Tool. After submission of a preliminary plan, the UAVSAR science coordinator will contact you to refine the data collection strategy and the finalized plan will be used to estimate flight hours and mission peculiar costs. Users are responsible for ensuring that their entire science experiment is accounted for within the submitted Flight Request; any expansion of the scope of the science experiment will require new Flight Request approval.

NASA data acquired by UAVSAR are processed at JPL and archived for distribution at the Alaska Satellite Facility, where you may download the processed data products at no charge. For more information about UAVSAR, visit their website. JPL's Earth Science Airborne Suborbital Instruments and Measurements website can be found here.


The National Airborne Sounder Testbed-Interferometer (NAST-I) is a high spectral resolution (0.25cm-1) and high spatial resolution (0.13 km linear resolution per km of aircraft flight altitude, at nadir) scanning (2.3 km ground cross-track swath width per km of aircraft flight altitude) passive infrared (IR) Michelson interferometer sounding system that was developed to be flown on high-altitude aircraft to provide experimental observations needed to finalize the specifications and to test proposed designs and data processing algorithms for the Cross-track Infrared Sounder (CrIS) flying on the Suomi NPP (SNPP) and Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) platforms. Because the NAST-I infrared spectral radiance and temperature, humidity, trace species, cloud and surface property soundings have unprecedented spectral and high spatial resolution, respectively, the data can be used to support a variety of satellite sensor calibration / validation and atmospheric research programs. The NAST-I covers a spectral range from ~ 600-2900 cm-1 (3.5-16 microns) with 0.25 cm-1 spectral resolution, yielding more than 9000 spectral channels of radiance emission/absorption information.  The NAST-I instrument has flown numerous science missions on the ER-2, WB-57, and Proteus aircraft, and the team has evaluated efforts needed to become operational on the DC-8.  Most recently, NAST-I was part of the ER-2 science payload for the FIREX-AQ field campaign conducted during August, 2019 ( Additional information can be obtained from Anna NoeDr. Daniel Zhou or Dr. Allen Larar.


The Land, Vegetation, and Ice Sensor (LVIS) is an airborne, wide-swath, full-waveform, scanning laser altimeter that produces precise and accurate large area (10,000 to 100,000s of sq. km) maps of surface topography, and any vertical height and structure within each laser footprint. LVIS digitally records both the shapes of the transmitted and reflected laser waveforms and precisely computes geolocation to provide a true 3-dimensional representation of the surface. The nominal LVIS data swath is 2 km. Standard data products include: Level 1B - the geolocated return laser waveform and Level 2 - elevation and height products extracted from the Level 1B waveform. The decimeter-accurate topography maps and precisely geolocated return waveforms produced by LVIS provide Earth scientists with a unique data set for studies such as topography, hydrology, land ice, sea ice, biodiversity, and ecology. Laser footprint size is adjustable from 5 m to 25 m, depending on the application. A dual-sensor flight configuration is also available. Interested users are encouraged to contact J. Bryan Blair ( or alternate contact: David Rabine ( to discuss further details of the capabilities of the facility.

Science Support Assets

ASP science support assets include the POS-AV system for georeferencing airborne sensor data and the high resolution Digital Mapping System (DMS). Both assets are managed by the Airborne Sensor Facility.

POS AV User fees apply

POS AV (Position and Orientation Systems) are standalone precision navigation systems specifically designed for direct georeferencing of airborne sensor data. By integrating precision GPS with inertial measurement technology, POS AV provides high-resolution aircraft attitude and position data for use by Lidars, imaging systems, and air sampling instruments. These systems and their support staff are in high demand. Loans may be restricted to “expert users”. Please contact James Jacobson regarding availability.

DMS User fees apply

The Digital Mapping System (DMS) is a 22-megapixel digital camera that acquires high resolution natural color or panchromatic aerial imagery. Data acquired by DMS are used by a variety of scientific programs to monitor variation in environmental conditions, assess global change, and respond to natural disasters. Geo-referenced image products may be generated, when used in conjunction with a POS AV system.