ASPECT provides infrared and photographic images with geospatial, chemical and radiological information within minutes to the first responder. The speed of transmitting this information permits a more efficient assessment of the extent and severity of damages to critical infrastructure during emergencies to minimize impacts to the American people, environment and the economy.
ASPECT is a screening tool that uses multiple sensors to support emergency responses, homeland security missions, environmental surveys, and climate monitoring missions. Data generated from these missions produce scientifically-valid products in a variety of formats to support the local, state, and federal operation centers. The ASPECT Team encompasses scientists, engineers, and public health experts all with advanced degrees, and more than 75 years of collective experience in airborne remote chemical or radiological detection and emergency response operations.
ASPECT is a 24/7/365 response-ready asset that can be wheels up within an hour of activation and be on station, collecting data, anywhere in CONUS within nine hours from its home base near Dallas, TX.
For more information about ASPECT, go to http://www.epa.gov/osweroe1/content/partners/cbrncmat.htm
Based near Dallas, Texas, and able to be deployed within one hour of notification, ASPECT is the 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 and radiological incidents in the US. 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
Digital Aerial Cameras
Satellite Data System
Data Delivery Using Google Earth Display Tool
To request ASPECT assistance, please call EPA’s Emergency Operations Center at: 202-564-3850; or the National Call Center at: 800-424-8802.
Paul Lewis discusses ASPECT, an airborne suite of sensors that provides critical data in emergencies, including the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
In 2001 the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Airborne Spectral Photometric Environmental Collection Technology (ASPECT) Program became the United States only civil 24/7 operational airborne chemical, radiological, and situational awareness reporting capability. The ASPECT model of operation combines an airborne operational remote sensing suite with a research and development support team to provide essential situational awareness information to first responders and their local, state and federal lead agencies in accordance with the National Contingency Plan and EPA’s responsibility under Emergency Support Function 10 of the National Response Plan.
The ASPECT aircraft was deployed to Gulfport, Mississippi to provide airborne remotely sensed air monitoring and situational awareness data and products in response to the Deepwater Horizon oil rig disaster. Flying over 75 missions that included more than 250 hours of flight operation, ASPECT’s initial mission responsibility was to provide air-quality monitoring (i.e., identification of vapor species) during various oil burning operations. The ASPECT airborne wide-area infrared remote sensing spectral data was used to evaluate the hazard potential of vapors being produced from open-water oil burns near the Deepwater Horizon rig site. Later, it was used to aid in the identification of surface oil that could reach beaches and wetland areas.
In this video, Paul Lewis describes the instrumentation on ASPECT and how the various imagers and sensors are used to respond to disasters in near real time.
Lewis is program manager and scientist for the ASPECT Research and Development Program at the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency. He was interviewed at SPIE Defense, Security and Sensing 2011.
Wednesday, July 13, 2010, CNN’s Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer. Correspondent Ines Ferre interviewed Rep. Gene Taylor (D-Miss.) who fought to keep the EPA’s ASPECT Aircraft flying. ASPECT (Airborne Spectral Photometric Environmental Collection Technology) is the Nation’s only 24/7 airborne emergency response chemical and radiological mapping program. Dr. Robert Kroutil, the team’s lead scientist, figured out how to reprogram ASPECT’s software to ensure that it detect the difference between oil, oil sheen, algae blooms, and turbulent water. From the air, algae and oil look similar. ASPECT’s new capability to detect oil makes the aircraft invaluable to the efforts surrounding the environmental disaster that BP created on April 20, 2010.
Prior to Rep. Taylor’s leadership in organizing the response efforts for Mississippi, the response was characterized as playing Marco Polo in the Gulf like a bunch of headless chickens.
Leveraging his 13 years in the U.S. Coast Guard where he lead search and rescue efforts and his leadership in the Katrina aftermath, Rep. Taylor’s expertise has ensured that the ASPECT team remain in the Gulf and be tasked with flying the Mississippi Gulf. Equally as important, Rep. Taylor is the reason that the coordination between what was in the air, the ground, and the water has turned into a smoother, cooperative, and effective effort to prevent oil from entering the Mississippi Sound.
A unique airborne emergency response tool, ASPECT is a Los Alamos/U.S. Environmental Protection Agency project that can put chemical and radiological mapping tools in the air over an accident scene. The name ASPECT is an acronym for Airborne Spectral Photometric Environmental Collection Technology.
Update, Sept. 19, 2008: Flying over storm-damaged refineries and chemical factories, a twin-engine plane carrying the ASPECT (Airborne Spectral Photometric Environmental Collection Technology) system has been on duty throughout the recent hurricanes that have swept the Florida and Gulf Coast areas. ASPECT is a project of the U.S. U.S. Environmental Protection Agencys National Decontamination Team. Los Alamos National Laboratory leads a science and technology program supporting the EPA and the ASPECT aircraft.