Mini-ATM delivered to NASA Wallops Flight Facility for ice sheet monitoring

Sigma Space delivered the Mini Airborne Topographic Mapper (Mini-ATM) at NASA Wallops Flight Facility, after a development effort based on challenging parameters: intended as a complement to NASA’s existing Airborne Topographic Mapper (ATM), Mini-ATM had to be small and light, able to fly on a small Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) yet generate high-resolution ground elevation maps.

Given those tight requirements, Sigma Space delivered a revolutionary new LiDAR: a compact, low power and autonomous instrument, measuring only 1 cubic foot and 28 pounds.

Besides accomplishing the size and weight requirements with the carbon fiber optical bench, high efficiency lightweight holograms and high-efficiency custom single photon counting electronics, Mini-ATM delivers a better spatial resolution and wider swaths than ATM, rapidly generating detailed 3-D ice sheet maps— thanks to the 45 degree cone half angle.

As a result, Mini-ATM can fly on a small UAS, at 2000 m operational altitude, producing a swath of 4000 m with 2 meter postings over glacier and icecaps in Greenland and Antarctica.

Lanham, Aug 22 2013.

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