An advanced infrared sensor designed to improve weather forecasting around the world has been delivered for integration and testing on the precursor satellite to the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS).
The Cross-track Infrared Sounder (CrIS), a key sensor for the NPOESS Preparatory Project (NPP), was delivered June 18 by Northrop Grumman Corporation’s subcontractor ITT to a Ball Aerospace facility in Boulder, Colo.
“ITT’s CrIS instrument will provide the most advanced measurements of temperature and moisture profiles in the atmosphere to date, for enhanced weather forecasting and long-term climate prediction,” said Rob Mitrevski, vice president and general manager, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Systems for ITT Geospatial Systems.
“This accomplishment expands ITT’s legacy of providing reliable, sophisticated climate and environmental monitoring sensors and systems for more than 40 years.”
Current U.S. operational infrared sounders provide about 20 infrared channels of information and characterize atmospheric temperature profiles to an accuracy of two to three degrees Kelvin. CrIS will provide more than 1,000 spectral channels of information in the infrared, at an improved horizontal spatial resolution, and will be able to measure temperature profiles with accuracy approaching one degree Kelvin.
The instrument has been developed to provide military and civil operational users with high-caliber data for the next decade and beyond.
“The test program conducted on the CrIS Flight 1 instrument demonstrated the sensor’s performance and capacity to deliver high-quality data products that will support key operational weather and climate monitoring missions,” said Linnie Haynesworth, the Northrop Grumman vice president for the NPOESS program.
CrIS was built by ITT under contract to Northrop Grumman Corporation for the NPOESS program, with the first unit onboard the NPOESS Preparatory Project spacecraft, scheduled to launch next year.