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NASA, University of Alabama Plan Follow-On Earth Lightning Study from Space Station

NASA‘s Marshall Space Flight Center and the University of Alabama plan to conduct a follow-on study of Earth’s lightning and its connections to atmospheric phenomena from the vantage point of the International Space Station.

The agency said Wednesday it will deploy a Lightning Imaging Sensor aboard SpaceX‘s 10th cargo resupply mission to ISS as part of a two-year research project that aims to help scientists examine the relationship between lightning and weather conditions.

LIS’ deployment to the orbital laboratory will offer an opportunity for scientists to collect lightning data downlinked in real-time for research or operational applications in data-sparse regions as well as help increase situational awareness capacity for weather advisories, forecasts and warnings, NASA added.

The sensor is designed to support cross calibrations with other space-based lightning and weather instruments such as the Geostationary Lightning Mapper.

“The LIS used in this follow-on mission is an exact duplicate of the sensor used on [the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission],” said Richard Blakeslee, science lead for the LIS at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center.

The agency noted that the sensor will be a hosted payload on the Defense Department‘s Space Test Program-Houston 5 mission.

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