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J Res Natl Inst Stand Technol. 2011 Apr 1;116(2):621-46. Print 2011 Mar-Apr.

Best Practice Guidelines for Pre-Launch Characterization and Calibration of Instruments for Passive Optical Remote Sensing.

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National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD 20899-0001.
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.


The pre-launch characterization and calibration of remote sensing instruments should be planned and carried out in conjunction with their design and development to meet the mission requirements. The onboard calibrators such as blackbodies and the sensors such as spectral radiometers should be characterized and calibrated using SI traceable standards. In the case of earth remote sensing, this allows inter-comparison and intercalibration of different sensors in space to create global time series of climate records of high accuracy where some inevitable data gaps can be easily bridged. The recommended best practice guidelines for this pre-launch effort is presented based on experience gained at National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) programs over the past two decades. The currently available radiometric standards and calibration facilities at NIST serving the remote sensing community are described. Examples of best practice calibrations and intercomparisons to build SI (international System of Units) traceable uncertainty budget in the instrumentation used for preflight satellite sensor calibration and validation are presented.


SI traceability; best practice guidelines; radiometric calibrations; remote sensing


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