The CASIE Mission Tracker

The CASIE team includes participants from three NASA centers (ARC, GSFC, and JPL), the University of Colorado Boulder Brigham Young University, Fort Hays State University, and the National Center for Atmospheric Research. Team members from NASA Ames Research Center developed a mission planning tool using Google Earth.  The tool allows team members in Svalbard to view near-real time satellite data, weather data, and miscellaneous data.  It also allows team members not deployed to Svalbard to monitor flights as they occur. 

The CASIE team uses MODIS, QuikSCAT, and AMSR-E data displayed in Google Earth as ground overlays for flight planning. The MODIS Rapid Response System at Goddard Space Flight Center collects and generates images from the MODIS sensors onboard the Terra and Aqua satellites. The images include two true color images (one from each satellite) and a false color image from Terra. These data are converted for display in Google Earth, and they provide cloud information to the flight planners. The QuikSCAT and AMSR-E satellite data provide information on ice location and concentration, which allows the flight planners to locate target areas for data collection. The planners also have sounding data, icing and snow cover forecasts, cloud pressure, perceptible water, and surface temperature data available to complement the ground overlays. This mission planning system also allows the CASIE team to view SIERRA’s flight track during a mission. 

While in flight, SIERRA sends position, temperature, and humidity data to the base station Ny-Alesund. These data are displayed in different ways within Google Earth. NASA computers generate a flight path in Google Earth from SIERRA’s position data. We display the temperature and humidity data as an x-y plot within the Google Earth user interface, and the data provide information on potential icing on the aircraft.

The combination of satellite data, forecasts, and real-time data from the aircraft allows for multiple participants across the country to participate in the CASIE mission without being deployed to Svalbard.  You, too, can participate by opening this casie.kml file in Google Earth.

Posted by Jeremey Kerr, CASIE Mission Tracker lead