On 2011 Oct 28 the NPP satellite was launched successfully from Vandenberg AFB. NPP is an acronym for the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) Preparatory Project [acronyms can be your friend!]
NPP is the first of a new generation of satellites to monitor/predict the long-term climate change AND short-term weather conditions. One of the several instruments on board is the Cross-track Infrared Sounder (CrIS) that provides spectra in ~1300 bins in 3 important bands in the infrared part of the electromagnetic spectrum. UMBC Physics Professor Dr Larrabee Strow leads a team calibrate CrIS. The instrument can measure Earth's surface temperature and atmospheric parameters such as the major 'Greenhouse Gases' H20, CO2 (carbon dioxide) & CH4 (methane).