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SABER is one of four instruments on NASA's Timed (Thermosphere Ionosphere Mesosphere Energetics and Dynamics) mission. It was built by Utah State University Space Dynamics Laboratory and is managed by NASA Langley Research Center.

Scientific objectives

SABER enhances knowledge of the radiation budget–the balance between Earth's incoming and outgoing energy–by making the first comprehensive global measurements of the energy balance in Earth's upper atmosphere. It measures infrared radiation or heat emitted by the atmosphere over a broad altitude and spectral range in this region. It also accurately determines how strongly the upper atmosphere is heated by ultraviolet radiation from the Sun.

SABER measures the vertical distribution of ozone, water vapor and carbon dioxide which are important gases that warm and cool the Mesosphere and Lower Thermosphere / Ionosphere (MLTI) region through absorption of solar radiation and emission of infrared radiation (heat energy).

SABER's observations provide new information about how temperature, density and pressure change with altitude. They also track the movement of air between the poles, from lower to upper atmospheric regions, from season to season and around the globe. During the mission, SABER will produce a global picture of how the MLTI region changes over time.

In summary, the objectives comprise:

  • Study the MILT thermal structure and its variations
  • Implement studies of energetics and radiatively active species in the non-LTE environment
  • Analyze Oy and HOy chemistry
  • Conduct dynamics studies

Measurement Objectives

  • Conduct global-scale, simultaneous, vertical profile measurements of temperature, key chemical constituents, and key emission features, including the following:
    • –   Kinetic temperature

      –   O3, H2O, NO, CO2

      –   O2(1Δ), OH(u), NO(u), O3(n3), CO2(n2)

      –   Atomic species O and H (O inferred 4 different ways)

  • Conduct measurements (e.g., T, O3, H2O, CO2) that can be used to derive and study dynamical quantities such as geopotential height and potential vorticity
  • Conduct measurements of O3, H2O, OH(u), O, and H to study ozone and odd hydrogen photochemistry in this region
  • Conduct measurements of key radiative emissions to study energetics in the TIMED core region
    • –   True cooling: CO2(n2), NO(u), O3(n3), H2O(n2)

      –   Solar heating: O3, O2, CO2(n3)

      –   Chemical heating: O3, O2, OH(u)

      –   Reduction of solar and chemical heating efficiencies: O2(1Δ), OH(u), O3(n3), CO2(n3)

Data Products

Level 2A (Routine)

Vertical profiles of the following parameters day and night

        •    Kinetic T, P, density 10 - 105 km
        •    O3 mixing ratio (9.6µm) 15 - 100 km
        •    O3 mixing ratio (1.27µm)* 50 - 95 km
        •    H2O mixing ratio 15 - 80 km
        •    CO2 ρ(4.3µm and 15µm) 85 - 150 km
        •    NO 5.3µm VER** 100 - 180 km
        •    OH 1.6µm VER** 80 - 100 km
        •    OH 2.0µm VER** 80 - 100 km
        •    O2(ΔD) 1.27µm VER** 50 - 105 km

   *Day only
** Volume Emission Rate

Level 2A (Analysis)

Temperature and constituent densities

        •    Kinetic T, P, density Z≥105 km night and day
        •    [O] concentration

             –   O3 day / night Δ's

             –   O2 (1Δ) nightglow

             –   O3 (9.6µm) / OH (2.0µm)

             –   CO2(4.3µm) / CO2 (15µ)


    60 - 80 km

    80 - 100 km

    80 - 100 km

    100 - 135 km






        •    [H] Concentration 80 - 100 km night and day

Cooling rates

        •    CO2(15µm) 20 - 140 km
        •    NO(5.3µm) 100 - 180km
        •    O3(9.6µm) 20 - 100 km
        •    H2O (6.7µm and far IR) 20 - 70 km

Level 3

  • Zonal mean pressure versus latitude cross sections (orbit, daily, weekly, monthly and seasonally averaged)
  • Polar stereographic and Lambert projection maps on constant pressure and isentropic surfaces (orbit, daily, weekly, monthly and seasonally averaged maps)

Data Access

Data are available through


NASA Langley Research Center
Office of Public Affairs
Mail Stop 115
Hampton, VA 23681-2199

The SABER science team is led by:
James M. Russell III, Principle Investigator, Hampton University, and
Martin G. Mlynczak, Asssociate PI, NASA LaRC.

The TIMED Platform

The TIMED mission is studying the influences of the Sun and humans on the least explored and understood region of Earth's atmosphere - the Mesosphere and Lower Thermosphere/Ionosphere (MLTI). The MLTI region is a gateway between Earth's environment and space, where the Sun's energy is first deposited into Earth's environment. TIMED is focusing on a portion of this atmospheric region located approximately 40-110 miles (60-180 kilometers) above the surface.

The TIMED spacecraft is observing this relatively unexplored frontier from its 388-mile (625-kilometer) circular orbit around the Earth. Employing advances in remote-sensing technology, the spacecraft's instrument suite is working with a worldwide network of ground-based observation sites to obtain an unprecedented set of comprehensive global measurements of the region's temperature, pressure, wind and chemical composition, along with its energy inputs and outputs.

    Launch Date December 07, 2001
    Primary Mission Two years
    Orbit 388-mile (625-kilometer) circular
    Inclination 74.1 degrees from the equator


The science objective of the TIMED mission is to understand the MLTI region's basic pressure, temperature and wind structure and the spatial and temporal variations that result from the transfer of energy into and out of this region.

Beside SABER, GUVI (Global Ultraviolet Imager . a spatial scanning, far-ultraviolet spectrograph that is globally measuring the composition and temperature profiles of the MLTI region, as well as its auroral energy inputs), SEE (Solar Extreme Ultraviolet Experiment - a spectrometer and suite of photometers that is measuring solar ultraviolet radiation, the primary energy deposited into the MLTI atmospheric region, which includes solar soft X-rays and extreme-ultraviolet and far ultraviolet radiation) and TIDI (TIMED Doppler Interferometer - an instrument that is globally measuring the wind and temperature profiles of the MLTI region) are onboard of TIMED.


The four instrument principal investigators (PIs) have direct control of their instruments and experiments, individually processing data and generating products for distribution from Payload Operations Centers located at each of the PI institutions across the country. Data is collected and distributed from the Mission Data Center located at APL in Laurel, Md. Data products are accessible via TIMED's web site (

All data products generated by the TIMED mission are nonproprietary and reside in the public domain. These data products are kept on-line (or in some cases, near-line) for public distribution through the World Wide Web (WWW).

Users of TIMED data are asked to respect the following guidelines.

  • Mission scientific and model results are open to all.
  • Users should contact the PI or designated team member of an instrument or modeling group early in an analysis project to discuss the appropriate use of instrument data or model results. This applies to TIMED mission team members, guest investigators, and other members of the scientific community or general public.
  • Users that wish to publish the results derived from TIMED data should normally offer co-authorship to the PI or his/her designated team member. Co-authorship may be declined. Appropriate acknowledgement to institutions, personnel, and funding agencies should be given.
  • Users should heed the caveats of investigators as to the interpretation and limitations of data or model results. Investigators supplying data or models may insist that such caveats be published, even if co-authorship is declined. Data and model version numbers should also be specified.
  • Pre-prints of publications and conference abstracts should be widely distributed to interested parties within the mission and related projects.