Panel Discussion

Wednesday, September 1 | 10:00 am

On-orbit Calibration: Sources, Measurements, and Strategies

Maintaining and developing an ongoing calibration process requires monitoring and measuring sources that are available while on-orbit. This interactive panel discussion on current challenges and future calibration needs of on-orbit payloads will include commentary from panelists who have expertise in onboard, lunar, and celestial sources, as well as experience using these sources to provide ongoing high-level measurements.

Potential topics for discussion include:

  • What are the requirements for an exemplary on-orbit calibration?
  • How often are these measurements collected?
  • What types of measurements are required?
  • How is drift accounted for over the mission life?


Mr. Scott Hansen, USU/Space Dynamics Laboratory

Scott Hansen is a sensor modeling, simulation, and radiometric calibration engineer at the Space Dynamics Laboratory, providing performance-prediction modeling and simulation in the concept and design phase, and ground and on-orbit test and calibration planning and design, data collection, and data analysis support in the integration and test phase of multiple sensor programs. Scott has a broad range of experience in sensor modeling, simulation, test, and calibration, with special emphasis in Fourier transform spectrometry for spectral measurements and characterization of sensor systems. Scott received his B.S. in Physics and Astronomy from Brigham Young University and an M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Utah State University. He served as co-chairman of the annual calibration conference (CALCON) from 2007 to 2016.


Dr. Ray Russell, The Aerospace Corporation

Dr. Russell retired from his position as a Senior Scientist at The Aerospace Corporation on October 1, 2018, where he had worked since 1981. He has since worked for CEB Metasystems and as a retiree casual at Aerospace, while continuing his scientific research on his own. Areas of scientific research emphasize understanding celestial dust, its composition, and physical manifestations. He is a member of the American Astronomical Society and the Society of Physics Students and has been a member of the Division of Planetary Sciences. Dr. Russell obtained his undergraduate degree in Astronomy, with a minor in Physics, from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. He was granted an M.S. and a Ph.D. in Physics from the University of California, San Diego. He has coauthored over 100 research publications and pioneered the use of 2D infrared arrays on airborne platforms. In addition, he used stressed detectors of his own manufacture in his co-discovery of the forbidden Carbon II line at 157 microns. His work has included the MSX SPIRIT III program, principal investigator on the Kuiper Airborne Observatory Infrared Technology Experiment (KITE) for the US Army, the Brilliant Eyes Proof of Principle project (serving as Principal Investigator), MSTI3 satellite calibration and use, and test and calibration of the NFIRE sensor, SBIRS High HEO and GEO sensors, the STSS sensors, and the SBSS sensor. Since returning to work part-time, he has supported the Next Generation GEO and Polar programs, SDA’s pLEO constellation development, the Wide Field of View program, and continued support of SBIRS High, SBSS, and 2 classified programs, while offering mentoring in fields of sensor design, test and calibration, and practical data analysis to anyone who wants it.

Dr. Thomas Stone, U.S. Geological Survey

Tom Stone is head of the lunar calibration facility at USGS in Flagstaff, Arizona, known as ROLO. He is co-developer of the ROLO model for lunar spectral irradiance that is widely utilized as a reference for on-orbit calibration of reflected solar wavelength sensors. Dr. Stone received his Ph.D. in atmospheric science from the University of Arizona in Tucson, where he developed calibrations for low light-level spectral imaging instruments flown on the Space Shuttle and into deep space. At USGS, he works to improve the accuracy of the ROLO lunar reference, and to expand the utilization of lunar calibration in remote sensing applications.

Mr. Joe Tansock, USU/Space Dynamics Laboratory

Joe Tansock is the group lead and engineer for the calibration group at Space Dynamics Laboratory. He has primary responsibility for all aspects of calibration including systems engineering support, test and calibration, specialized calibration equipment, calibration analysis and reporting, and calibration activities throughout the sensor’s operational life. Joe received a B.S. in Physics and Applied Mathematics from Weber State University and an M.S. in Instrumentation Physics from the University of Utah.

Dr. Xiaoxiong (Jack) Xiong, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Jack Xiong is an optical physicist in the Biospheric Sciences Laboratory at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, currently supporting Terra, Aqua, S-NPP, JPSS, and CLARREO Pathfinder (CPF) projects/missions on sensor calibration and characterization. He has served as the Technical Lead for the NASA’s MODIS/VIIRS Characterization Support Team (MCST/VCST) and the MODIS Project Scientist for instrument operation and calibration. He received a B.S. degree in optical engineering from Beijing Institute of Technology and a Ph.D degree in physics from University of Maryland. Before joining the NASA/GSFC, he had also worked in the fields of optical instrumentation, nonlinear optics, laser and atomic spectroscopy, and resonance ionization mass spectrometry at the University of Maryland, College Park and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Gaithersburg, Maryland.