Sierra Nevada to support Nasa’s JPSS-2 polar satellite mission
Exelis Geospatial Systems has selected Sierra Nevada (SNC) to design and build the Azimuth Rotation Module (ARM) for Radiation Budget Instrument (RBI).
This module will be installed on the Joint Polar Satellite System-2 (JPSS-2) to serve as a rotational stage for the Exelis-built RBI, and the primary interface between the instrument and spacecraft.
JPSS is scheduled for launch in early 2017, while the JPSS-2’s mission will be in the fourth quarter of 2021.
The polar satellite constellation’s mission is designed to gather global Earth observation data, to help forecast and monitor climate trends.
The RBI scanning radiometer will determine Earth’s reflected sunlight and emitted thermal radiation levels, so that scientists and researchers can study the planet’s incoming and outgoing energy.
It will also enable better measuring of the impact of clouds on the Earth’s energy balance.
“Work will provide critical Earth science data to allow for more accurate predictions of seasonal climate forecasts, improve global warming tracking.”
SNC space systems business development director Bryan Helgesen said: “SNC is excited to support Exelis on the RBI contract and to be a part of the JPSS-2 team whose work will provide critical Earth science data to allow for more accurate predictions of seasonal climate forecasts, improve global warming tracking and provide an enhanced understanding of cloud and climate feedback that determines climate variations and trends.”
Exelis was awarded a $208m contract by Nasa last year for the RBI instrument, which will extend the global climate measurements of the Earth’s radiation provided by the clouds, as well as Earth radiant energy systems (CERES) instruments since 1998.
The JPSS programme is managed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), while Nasa is responsible for developing and building the satellite and ground systems.
In March, Nasa selected Orbital ATK to build the JPSS-2 spacecraft.