CRISTA-NF - a Helium-cooled Infrared Telescope for the Atmosphere

The Idea

After CRISTA had very successfully measured small-scale structures in global atmospheric trace gas distributions from space, the idea was born to use the same measurement technique for a new infrared sensor which is particularly suitable for deployment on board the high-flying research plane M55-GEOPHYSICA.

Using GEOPHYSICA as a scientific platform the CRISTA-NF telescope shall measure altitude profiles of different trace gases like H2O, O3, N2O, F11, as well as clouds and aerosols simultaneously by scanning the primary mirror. With a vertical resolution of 200 m in the altitude range from around 6 to 20 km CRISTA-NF is an excellent scientific instrument for exploration of the dynamics, the structure and the composition of the Upper Troposphere / Lower Stratosphere (UTLS) region.

The GEOPHYSICA aircraft can stay up in the air for a maximum of 4.5 hours, but for scientific reasons it is desirable that CRISTA-NF can scan the atmosphere on two consecutive days. Therefore the Helium cryostat was designed for a minimum hold time of 60 hours. An additional technical constraint besides the limited available space in the aircraft arose from the requirement of flexibility for integrating the instrument in different loading bays of the research plane.


Remote sensing geometry


before integration into the Russian high-flying research plane