Which facilities are participating in 2001?
The NKC135-E FISTA Aircraft
FISTA is a modified NKC135-E aircraft. It has 20 upward-looking window ports oriented at different angles for maximum coverage of the sky. Main instruments are near-Infrared and mid-Infrared spectrometers of Aerospace
Corporation and AFRL. Infrared sensors detect the comparative heat of objects. Spectrometers take the light appart in its colors. FISTA also carries a compliment of visible and ultra-violet spectrometers and
imagers of other researchers for a total of 10 experiments.This US Air Force aircraft is operated by the 452nd Flight Test Squadron at Edwards AFB. The aircraft is named FISTA, for Flying Infrared Signature Technology Aircraft.
Why an airborne mission?
The concept is to bring together scientists from different disciplines and cooperatively observe the meteors using a wide range of techniques. Only an airborne mission can bring
scientists to the right place at the right time to view the Leonids, and guarantee clear weather. Leonid MAC is a short timeframe, low-cost, high-yield
research endeavor that takes advantage of off-the-shelf equipment and mission- ready research aircraft. The mission centers around a research aircraft that
will serve as observing platform for video cameras and scientific instruments.
The 2001 Leonid MAC campaign follows a highly successful
airborne campaign in 1999
, which gathered a bounty of scientific data during what was the first
meteor storm since the 1966, and the first to be observed by modern observing
techniques. Rates increased to 4,000 meteors per hour.
An airborne mission makes it possible to:
ÿý Avoid poor November weather by flying above the clouds
ÿý Avoid scattering of light by dust and air for Lidar and UV observations
ÿý Rise above low-altitude haze for a clear and transparent sky
ÿý Rise above water vapor blocking near- and mid- infrared wavelengths