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CLARREO Passes First Big Test
11.23.10
 
By: Michael Finneran

The best way to get a good grade is to do your homework.

An independent team of experts from around the country met at NASA Langley last week to grade NASA’s homework on CLARREO, which will begin compiling the most accurate climate data ever when it gets into orbit.

The mission passed.

"It is the strong opinion of this team that the CLARREO project has successfully demonstrated (Mission Concept Review) maturity and should be approved to proceed to Phase A," said Dennon Clardy, chair of the MCR team.

Clardy said the review panel gave the CLimate Absolute Radiance and REfractivity Observatory team especially high marks for the working relationship among its members.

Joe Zawodney.

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Bruce Wielicki, CLARREO mission scientist, makes a point during his presentation at the Mission Concept Review. Credit: NASA/George Homich.

"I’ve seen projects already up and running that don’t have the strong working relationship between the science team and project managers and engineers that you do," said Clardy, of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.

The panel also praised Langley for its grasp of how the mission will benefit society, for "buy-in" from the climate-science community and for an "excellent job" in defining a feasible mission within funding and launch-date constraints.

The mission schedule calls for launching two Earth-observing satellites into orbit, the first in July of 2018 and the second in May of 2020.

The MCR, held November 17 in Langley’s Pearl Young Theater, was the first big test for CLARREO.

"We think they're good comments. That's what I'd call a good review," said David Beals, CLARREO's mission confirmation and project integration manager. "It’s a real tribute to our team."

The panel's recommendation will go to Langley's director, Lesa Roe, who will review and send it for decision to the Earth Sciences Division at NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The full report will be released in mid-December, Clardy said.

The review team is comprised of experts in different fields from universities and other NASA centers, including Langley Research Center; Marshall Space Flight Center; and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. The team includes systems engineers, project managers, scientists and cost analysts.

"This is where they bring their expertise and experience to bear to see if we've done our homework," Beals said. "They want to see if your concept hangs together, and does it meet the science requirements, the technical requirements, the project management requirements.”

CLARREO is a significant mission not only for Langley but also for the agency and, ultimately, the public that will benefit from its data. The National Research Council declared CLARREO a top priority for NASA in a 2007 decadal survey for Earth science.

The mission is designed to provide accurate, credible and tested climate records that lay the groundwork for decisions on policies that address the effects of climate change on society. Langley is partnering on the mission with other organizations, including universities, industry and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Links:

• Mission scientist video: http://www.nasa.gov/centers/langley/multimedia/5Q4-CLARREO-Wielicki.html#

• CLARREO page: http://clarreo.larc.nasa.gov/

• Decadal survey: http://science.nasa.gov/earth-science/decadal-surveys/

 
 


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