ICESat‐2/ATLAS Onboard Flight Science Receiver Algorithms: Purpose, Process,...

McGarry, J. F., C. Carabajal, J. L. Saba, A. R. Reese, S. T. Holland, S. P. Palm, J. A. Swinski, J. E. Golder, and P. M. Liiva (2021), ICESat‐2/ATLAS Onboard Flight Science Receiver Algorithms: Purpose, Process, and Performance, Earth and Space Science, 8, doi:10.1029/2020ea001235.

The Advanced Topographic Laser Altimetry System (ATLAS) is the sole instrument on the Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite 2 (ICESat‐2). Without some method of reducing the transmitted data, the volume of ATLAS telemetry would far exceed the normal X‐band downlink capability or require many more ground station contacts. The ATLAS Onboard Flight Science Receiver Algorithms (hereinafter Receiver Algorithms or Algorithms) control the amount of science data that is telemetered from the instrument, limiting the data volume by distinguishing surface echoes from background noise, and allowing the instrument to telemeter data from only a small vertical region about the signal. This is accomplished through the transfer of the spacecraft's location and attitude to the instrument every second, use of an onboard Digital Elevation Model, implementation of signal processing techniques, and use of onboard relief and surface type reference maps. Extensive ground testing verified the performance of the Algorithms. On‐orbit analysis shows that the Algorithms are working as expected from the ground testing; they are performing well and meeting the mission requirements.

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Research Program: 
Cryospheric Science Program (CSP)