Raytheon has received a $564 million contract modification award from NASA for two satellite sensors as part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Joint Polar Satellite System Polar Follow-On missions.
The Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) sensors are for two satellites in the series, Polar Follow-On /JPSS-3 and JPSS-4. These are the fourth and fifth VIIRS units Raytheon has been contracted to build.
The first Raytheon-built VIIRS instrument is currently flying on the NOAA/NASA Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership satellite launched in 2011. The company has delivered a second VIIRS sensor for JPSS-1, scheduled for launch in 2017 and is currently building a third VIIRS unit for JPSS-2, planned for launch in 2021.
VIIRS collects imagery in 22 bands of light – from visible to infrared – allowing scientists to observe emerging weather and climate patterns in unprecedented detail. The data is also used for planning military operations.
“The meteorology community has expressed overwhelmingly positive feedback for VIIRS since its launch in 2011,” said Robert Curbeam, vice president and deputy of Space Systems for Raytheon’s Space and Airborne Systems business. “This technology gives weather forecasters the data they need to make accurate predictions and help individuals and communities better prepare for severe weather events.”
JPSS is a collaborative effort between NOAA and NASA that ensures continuity of observational data at the quality levels needed to sustain current weather forecasts. NOAA is responsible for managing and operating the JPSS satellites. NASA, funded by NOAA, is responsible for developing and building the JPSS instruments, spacecraft, launch services and major components of the ground segment.