October 23 2014

Two Key JPSS-2 Instrument Contracts Awarded

NASA, on behalf of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has recently awarded two sole source contracts for key instruments, the Cross-track Infrared Sounder (CrIS) instrument and the Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder (ATMS) for the Joint Polar Satellite System-2 (JPSS-2) mission. CrIS and ATMS currently fly on the NOAA/NASA Suomi NPP satellite mission and will also fly on the JPSS-1 and JPSS-2 satellite missions. JPSS, the Nation’s next generation polar-orbiting operational environmental satellite system is a collaborative program between NOAA and its acquisition agent NASA.

cris instrument
JPSS-1 CrIS Instrument. JPSS-2 will host the same design. Credit: NASA
In September 2014, Exelis, Inc., Geospatial Systems, of Fort Wayne, Indiana, received the sole source contract for CrIS for the JPSS-2 mission. This is a cost-plus-award-fee modification in the amount of $221 million. Under this contract, Exelis, Inc. Geospatial Systems will manufacture, test and deliver the CrIS instrument, support instrument integration on the JPSS-2 spacecraft and provide launch and post-launch support. Click here to read the complete press release.

CrIS is the first in a series of advanced operational sounders that provides more accurate, detailed atmospheric temperature and moisture observations for weather and climate applications. The sounding accuracy of CrIS is well beyond the capabilities of current NOAA operational sounders.

In October 2014, Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems (NGES), of Azusa, California received the sole source contract for the ATMS instrument. This is a cost-plus-award-fee modification in the amount of $121 million. Under this contract, Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems will manufacture, test and deliver the ATMS instrument, support instrument integration on the JPSS-2 spacecraft and provide launch and post-launch support. Click here to read the complete press release.

atms instrument
JPSS-1 ATMS Instrument. JPSS-2 will host the same design. Credit: NASA
ATMS is the next generation cross-track microwave sounder providing atmospheric temperature and moisture for operational weather and climate applications. ATMS collects microwave radiation from the Earth's atmosphere and surface all day and all night, even through clouds. ATMS combines the capabilities of current generation microwave temperature sounders (Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit, AMSU-A) and microwave humidity sounders (MHS*) currently flying on NOAA's Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellites (POES). Click here to read the complete press release.

Together, CrIS and ATMS primarily provide data on the hydrologic cycle, which includes water vapor, clouds and precipitation. Because clouds are opaque in the infrared part of the spectrum (measured by the CrIS) and largely transparent at microwave frequencies (measured by ATMS), operating them together makes it possible to cover a broader range of weather conditions. ATMS is able to provide a view inside and below clouds and can be used to produce images inside storms, including hurricanes. This will provide invaluable data for understanding storms and making predictions up to five to seven days in advance of a severe weather event.