ASPECT: EPA’s Airborne Spectral Photometric Environmental Collection Technology
Based near Dallas, Texas, and able to deploy within one hour of notification, ASPECT is the nation’s only airborne stand-off real-time chemical and radiological detection, infrared and photographic imagery platform available to assist local, national, and international agencies supporting hazardous substance response, radiological incidents, and situational awareness in the US. Available 24/7/365 and can be collecting data at any site in the continental US within 9 hours.
ASPECT consists of a suite of sensors and software mounted in a twin-engine aircraft that, within a single pass of the aircraft, can generate data in a variety of formats to produce scientifically valid products within five minutes of data collection. Primary sensors and features include:
- Infrared Line Scanner
- High Speed Infrared Spectrometer
- Gamma-Ray Spectrometers
- He3 Neutron Detector
- Digital Aerial Cameras
- Satellite Communication System
- Data Delivery Using Google Earth, ESRI and other formats
To request ASPECT assistance, please call EPA’s Emergency Operations Center at: 202-564-3850; or the National Call Center at: 800-424-8802.
Spring 2013: Grand Canyon Radiological Survey
This survey is being conducted per a request from the National Park Service to investigate possible uranium mine drainage into the Grand Canyon. The Park Service is interested in addressing any potential impacts to the public and environment from these discharges. The project will consist of using a subset of ASPECT equipment that will be installed and flown on a Park Service helicopter.
Summer 2013: Radiological Background Survey of the National Capitol Region (DC, VA, MD)
ASPECT is scheduled to fly the second part of a multi-State/County survey of the greater Washington DC region. The FBI Washington Field Office requested ASPECT to conduct a holistic chemical and a radiological “background” assessment of the National Capital Area. Data from this survey will provide emergency response managers with a baseline datum as related to atmospheric chemicals and the radiological background present in the DC area. The chemical portion of the survey was completed in January and the radiological portion is scheduled for the spring.
Ongoing: Comprehensive Atmospheric Monitoring Program
The comprehensive atmospheric monitoring program (CAMP) is a joint monitoring program between the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA) and EPA ASPECT for the purpose of developing and demonstrating how infrared remote sensing techniques can be used to conduct atmospheric carbon dioxide monitoring and for estimating possible CO2 sources from city sized areas.
Summer 2013: 64th Civil Support Team Regional CBRN Full Scale Field Exercise
This joint exercise (EPA ASPECT and the 64th Civil Support Team - New Mexico) is being conducted to develop a set of standard operating procedures on how ASPECT data will be interfaced into the overall CST response structure. The exercise will consist of a simulated chemical accident and the recovery of lost industrial radiological sources and will include a number of State and local first responders. The development of a standard operating procedure will greatly assist with ASPECT’s interaction and sharing of data with the State CST programs and local first responders.
October 2013: Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta
The State of New Mexico has requested that EPA ASPECT assist with airborne chemical and radiological monitoring as part of the 2013 Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. This event typically draws a crowd of over 500,000 spectators. ASPECT has assisted the State for the past 4 years and provides daily chemical/radiological sweeps in addition to a heighten state of emergency response readiness in the event of an accident.