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Lidar Performance Engineer Bill Hunt

Bill Hunt I serve as a liaison between the scientists and the engineers. In that role, my main objective is to ensure that the hardware that the engineers develop can perform the functions that the scientists require. I am involved in almost all aspects of the project, including hardware and software design and testing and Mission Operations. Early on in the project, I developed a performance simulation program to aid in determining the instrument parameters that are needed in order to meet the science objectives. Much of the design of the lidar signal processing electronics and on-board processing software was based upon my recommendations. For atmospheric testing, as for many of the other tests along the way, I wrote the test plan and will evaluate the results from the tests. Once data starts flowing from orbit, I will continue to evaluate the lidar performance. As a member of the Lidar Science Working Group, I helped develop the algorithms to be used to convert the raw signals from on-orbit into useful science products.

Image left: Shown here is Bill Hunt, the lidar performance engineer for CALIPSO.

What attracted you to the CALIPSO mission?

For me, CALIPSO was a natural progression from my work with LITE, which was a lidar flown on the Space Shuttle in 1994. As soon the LITE mission was completed, I began working on a team studying concepts for future space-borne lidar missions. These studies culminated in the PICASSO-CENA mission (later renamed CALIPSO) that was selected for funding in 1998.

What's your favorite part of your job?

I have been at Langley Research Center since 1973, working with lidar and other remote sensing projects. My favorite part of my work has been the opportunity to do some really interesting and challenging work with very interesting and talented people. My time here has been very rewarding.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

My son, who graduated from high school this month, keeps me busy. But, other than my family, my passion is music. I am a member of a contra dance band called "Friends of Appalachian Music" (FOAM), a group in Williamsburg that plays traditional Appalachian folk music and holds a monthly dance -- similar to square dancing. I have played my 12-string guitar in this group for more than 20 years, and I am also a member of a smaller group called Orion that performs throughout the region, playing traditional American and Celtic music.

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