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Ball Aerospace Completes Instrument Integration on Nation's Next Polar-orbiting Weather Satellite

Feb. 16, 2016

All five of the complex and critical instruments that will deliver data for NOAA's next polar-orbiting weather satellite mission have been integrated by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. on the Joint Polar Satellite System-1 (JPSS-1) satellite.

The Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder (ATMS) was the final instrument to be integrated onto the JPSS-1 satellite, scheduled to launch in early 2017. The sounder will continue to provide the same high quality observations currently available from the NOAA/NASA Suomi NPP satellite and necessary to retrieve profiles of atmospheric temperature and moisture for civilian operational weather forecasting as well as continuity of these measurements for climate monitoring purposes.

"The infrastructure supporting weather, environmental and climate sciences is a critical national resource," said Rob Strain, Ball Aerospace president. "The robust delivery system provided by JPSS-1 is a result of effective partnerships and will ensure the continuity of weather and environmental observations that protect us from the potential loss of human life and property while advancing the national economy."

Like its predecessor, the Ball-built Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (Suomi NPP) satellite, JPSS-1 hosts a total of five instruments. In addition to the ATMS, built by Northrop Grumman, instruments include the Cross-track Infrared Sounder (Harris Corporation), the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (Raytheon), the Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System (NASA Langley Research Center) and Ball's Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite-Nadir (OMPS). On orbit since 2011, the NOAA/NASA Suomi NPP satellite delivers operational high-quality atmospheric, oceanographic, and land surface data for the nation's operational weather mission. It also supports a wide range of environmental monitoring and prediction and contributes to NASA's study of Earth's climate.

Polar weather satellites contribute 85 percent of the data that goes into numerical weather prediction models. NOAA's JPSS-1 satellite will be responsible for delivering the primary data contribution from the afternoon orbit. Launch of the instrument-loaded orbiter will continue accurate/reliable weather forecasting and provide severe storm warnings days in advance that protect lives and property across our nation.

Under contract to NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, Ball Aerospace is responsible for designing and building the JPSS-1 satellite, building the OMPS-Nadir instrument, integrating all instruments, and performing satellite-level testing and launch support. NOAA provides the funding, requirements, operations and science for JPSS and teams with NASA, which procures the flight segment and portions of the ground segment.