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Northrop Grumman To Modify CERES Sensor For NPOESS Prep Mission To Improve Climate Data Payload

Clouding around
by Staff Writers
Redondo Beach CA (SPX) Jun 06, 2008
Northrop Grumman has been awarded a contract by NASA Langley Research Center to make modifications to a sensor that helps determine the influence of clouds on the Earth's temperature. The sensor will be integrated onto the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) Preparatory Mission (NPP), scheduled for launch by NASA in 2010.

The Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System (CERES) sensor was one of six built by Northrop Grumman's Space Technology sector for long-term climate monitoring. CERES and an earlier generation of similar sensors have been continuously capturing measurements of the reflected solar radiation and emitted thermal radiation over the Earth's surface since 1984.

Four CERES sensors are currently operational on NASA's Terra and Aqua Earth Observing System. The first CERES sensor was a part of the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission.

"The addition of CERES to NPP will enable the continuation of these vital climate measurements through 2015," said David L. Ryan, vice president and division general manager for Civil Systems at Northrop Grumman's Space Technology sector. "This sensor is providing the most accurate global radiation measurements currently available and its data has provided increased understanding of climate change."

Northrop Grumman will make electrical and thermal modifications, update software and calibrate the sensor. It will be delivered this autumn for integration onto NPP, which Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corporation is building under contract to NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Northrop Grumman is the prime contractor for NPOESS for three government agencies: the United States Air Force, NASA, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

NPP has a twofold mission: to reduce risk on NPOESS through early flight validation of critical NPOESS sensors, and to serve as a bridge for data continuity between NASA's Earth Observing System research satellites and NPOESS, the next generation U.S. operational Earth observation system.

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EarthCARE Earthcare Satellite Contract Signed
Berlin, Germany (SPX) Jun 06, 2008
The European Space Agency and Astrium GmbH has signed a contract worth 263 million euros to provide the EarthCARE satellite, the sixth Earth Explorer mission of ESA's Living Planet Programme. As prime contractor, Astrium GmbH is responsible for the satellite's design, development and integration.

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