Document Type


Journal/Book Title/Conference

Proceedings of SPIE



Publication Date



The radiative balance of the troposphere, and hence global climate, is dominated by the infrared absorption and emission of water vapor, particularly at far-infrared (far-IR) wavelengths from 15-50 μm. Current and planned satellites observe the infrared region to about 15.4 μm, ignoring spectral measurement of the far-IR region from 15 to 100μm. The far-infrared spectroscopy of the troposphere (FIRST) project, flown in June 2005, provided a balloon-based demonstration of the two key technologies required for a space-based far-IR spectral sensor. We discuss the FIRST Fourier transform spectrometer system (0.6 cm-1 unapodized resolution), its radiometric calibration in the spectral range from 10 to 100 μm, and its performance and science data from the flight. Two primary and two secondary goals are given and data presented to show the goals were achieved by the FIRST flight.