Absolute calibration of radiometers is usually implemented onboard using one hot and one cold external calibration targets. However, two-point calibration methods are unable to differentiate calibration drifts and associated errors from fluctuations in receiver gain and offset. Furthermore, they are inadequate to characterize temporal calibration stability of radiometers. In this paper, a preliminary study with linear radiometer systems has been presented to show that onboard external three-point calibration offers the means to quantify calibration drifts in the radiometer systems, and characterize associated errors as well as temporal stability in Earth and space measurements. Radiometers with three external calibration reference targets operating two data processing paths: i.e., (1) measurement path and (2) calibration validation path have been introduced. In the calibration validation data processing path, measurements of one known calibration target is calibrated using the other two calibration references, and temporal calibration stability and possible calibration temperature drifts are analyzed. In the measurement data processing path, the impact of the calibration drifts on Earth and space measurements is quantified and bounded by an upper limit. This two-path analysis is performed through calibration error analysis (CEA) diagrams introduced in this paper.
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Aksoy, Mustafa and Racette, Paul E., "A Preliminary Study of Three-Point Onboard External Calibration for Tracking Radiometric Stability and Accuracy" (2019). Electrical and Computer Engineering Faculty Scholarship. 1.