Government Lab Selected to Develop Key NPOESS Sensor

May 21, 2008

Artists concept of NPOESS satellite.

Artists concept of NPOESS satellite.

High resolution (Credit: NOAA)

The NPOESS Integrated Program Office has selected the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory to develop the microwave imager/sounder sensor planned for the next generation of polar-orbiting weather satellites. The sensor will bring improved data and imagery, paving the way for better weather forecasts, severe-weather monitoring and climate change assessment.

The laboratory will deliver the sensor for the second National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) satellite, scheduled to launch in 2016. The NRL plans to move production of additional flight units for subsequent NPOESS launches to an industry partner should this prove more cost-effective.

“This selection is a major milestone for NPOESS,” said Dan Stockton, the system’s program executive officer. “The process to choose the NRL was very thorough. After all of the analysis and planning, we are convinced that NRL has the expertise to do a good job.”

The sensor’s development will start after agreements are finalized between the NPOESS program office and NRL. After the completion of the initial design, the NPOESS program office, with support from NRL, may select an industry partner for the instrument's production.

The NPOESS Integrated Program Office is a multi-agency management team, responsible for developing, acquiring and operating the NPOESS program. NRL, based in Washington, D.C., is the corporate research laboratory for the Navy and Marine Corps and conducts a broad program of scientific research, technology and advanced development.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department, is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and information service delivery for transportation, and by providing environmental stewardship of our nation's coastal and marine resources. Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners, more than 70 countries and the European Commission to develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes, predicts and protects.