Long before Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) built the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS), launched in 2002, Still Chase, at SBRC, proposed doing the AIRS system using a Fourier Transform spectrometer rather than a grating spectrometer. JPL was not interested is such a radical, at that time, approach.
That did not dissuade Still from following his intuition and doing further studies on the concept. A relationship was developed with the Canadian company BOMEN, who were the world leader in Fourier Transform instrumentation, and a proposal was given to Bill Smith at the Space Science and Engineering Center (SSEC) of the University of Wisconsin. Bill Smith was the chief “competitor” to JPL in the earth orbiting temperature-sounding arena.
As a result SBRC and SSEC jointly developed the High-resolution Interferometer Sounder (HIS), which was designed to fly on the high altitude ER2 that NASA uses for atmospheric research studies. The path finding nature of that collaboration has led to the building of a more advanced instrument, the Scanning High-resolution Interferometer Sounder (SHIS) which has now been flown on six different aircraft at more than 33 different field campaigns for a total of more than 480 flights. The SHIS is now considered the world’s most accurate method for remote measurement of sea surface temperature (SST) and atmospheric temperature and water vapor profile.
One of the latest flights was on the NASA Global Hawk where it was able to measure the SST under a hurricane by measuring through it’s eye.
If it had not been for Still’s leadership at SBRC none of these advances in spectrometer technology would have happened.