The design, characteristics, and first test flight results are described of the Portable Remote Imaging Spectrometer, an airborne sensor specifically designed to address the challenges of coastal ocean remote sensing. The sensor incorporates several technologies that are demonstrated for the first time, to the best of our knowledge, in a working system in order to achieve a high performance level in terms of uniformity, signal-to-noise ratio, low polarization sensitivity, low stray light, and high spatial resolution. The instrument covers the 350–1050 nm spectral range with a 2.83 nm sampling per pixel, and a 0.88 mrad instantaneous field of view, with 608 cross-track pixels in a pushbroom configuration. Two additional infrared channels (1240 and 1610 nm) are measured by a spot radiometer housed in the same head. The spectrometer design is based on an optically fast (F/1.8) Dyson design form coupled to a wide angle two-mirror telescope in a configuration that minimizes polarization sensitivity without the use of a depolarizer. A grating with minimum polarization sensitivity and broadband efficiency was fabricated as well as a slit assembly with black (etched) silicon surface to minimize backscatter. First flight results over calibration sites as well as Monterey Bay in California have demonstrated good agreement between in situ and remotely sensed data, confirming the potential value of the sensor to the coastal ocean science community.
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