Document Type


Journal/Book Title/Conference

Proceedings of SPIE

Publication Date



Space Dynamics Laboratory (SDL) recently designed, built, and delivered the Solar Occultation for Ice Experiment (SOFIE) instrument as the primary sensor in the NASA Aeronomy of Ice in the Mesosphere (AIM) instrument suite. AIM’s mission is to study polar mesospheric clouds (PMCs). SOFIE will make measurements in 16 separate spectral bands, arranged in eight pairs between 0.29 and 5.3 μm. Each band pair will provide differential absorption limb-path transmission profiles for an atmospheric component of interest, by observing the sun through the limb of the atmsophere during solar occulation as AIM orbits Earth. A pointing mirror and imaging sun sensor coaligned with the detectors are used to track the sun during occulation events and maintain stable alignment of the sun on the detectors. This paper outlines the mission requirements and goals, gives an overview of the instrument design, fabrication, testing and calibration results, and discusses lessons learned in the process.