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Airborne Sensor Technology Assists Emergency Responders

NCJ Number
Homeland Defense Journal Volume: 1 Issue: 8 Dated: November 2003 Pages: 12-12
James E. Rickman
Date Published
November 2003
1 page
This article describes the Airborne Spectral Photometric Collection Technology (ASPECT), an airborne infrared sensor technology.
ASPECT, which involved more than 5 years of research and development by researchers at Los Alamos’ Physical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy Group and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), was designed to detect and map hazardous and toxic chemical plumes that may result from disasters or terrorist attacks. The technology involves a high-tech sensor package that is mounted onboard a small aircraft operated by the EPA. ASPECT allows the detection of gaseous chemical releases from a safe distance in order to provide critical information to emergency first responders on the ground. ASPECT technology is combined with Global Positioning System information to map the land surface and the chemical vapor plumes in order to show where dangerous gases have collected and settled. The system was designed to provide emergency first responders with the necessary information to make critical decisions regarding citizen evacuations, resource deployments, and their own safety. ASPECT was used to patrol the skies over Salt Lake City during the 2002 Winter Olympics and in the wake of the Columbia space shuttle disaster.


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