The AWE payload consists of a single instrument, the Advanced Mesospheric Temperature Mapper (AMTM), attached to the ISS in a nadir-viewing configuration. The AMTM, a wide field of view infrared imager, enables AWE science data collection and builds on a long legacy of AGW observations of the mesopause.

An artistic rendering of AWE's AMTM instrument positioned on the ISS.
Artist rendering of AWE’s AMTM on the ISS. (Credit: Space Dynamics Laboratory)

About the Instrument

The AMTM is a high-optical throughput imaging system that quantifies gravity wave-induced temperature disturbances in the hydroxyl (OH) airglow layer. The instrument is designed to provide an outstanding combination of spatial and temporal resolution, field of view, and temperature precision. The AMTM’s four identical telescopes will simultaneously measure the P1(2) and P1(4) emission lines of the OH (3,1) band, as well as the atmospheric background, from which the OH layer temperature will be derived.

A 2D model of the AMTM.


The ExPRESS Payload Adapter (ExPA) is NASA-provided hardware that serves as the AMTM’s mechanical and electrical interface to the ISS.

The ISS’s robotic arm interfaces with the ExPA to remove the AMTM from the launch vehicle and install it on Site 3 of the ExPRESS Logistics Carrier (ELC)-1.


AWE’s engineering team streamlined the AMTM instrument design in both size and complexity, resulting in a compact system compatible with the ISS.

Instrument Specifications
Mass58 kg
Volume0.30 m3
Field of View90 degrees
Power20 W (orbit average)
Data Rate5.40 Mb/s
Integration Time1.0 seconds
Filters P1(2): 1524.1 nm
P1(4): 1543.2 nm
Background: 1521.4 nm
Q (cloud reflection): 1434.5 nm
The AWE flight instrument on the ExPRESS Payload Adapter (ExPA).
Atmospheric Waves Experiment
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The material is based upon work supported by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration under Contract Number 80GSFC18C0007.

Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.