Ball Aerospace Completes Construction of JPSS-1 Bus

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Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corp. has completed construction of the platform structure for a civilian polar-orbiting weather satellite slated for launch in early 2017, the company announced Dec. 3.

The $650 million Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS)-1 is being procured by NASA on behalf of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The spacecraft will carry the same main instrument suite as the Ball-built Suomi NPP satellite, which was launched in 2011.

In addition to the JPSS-1 bus, Boulder, Colo.-based Ball is building one of the satellite’s five main sensors, the Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite. Ball also is responsible for integrating the JPSS-1 bus with its instruments, the rest of which are being built by other manufacturers, spacecraft testing and launch support.

“We remain ahead of schedule in meeting our milestones,” Cary Ludtke, vice president and general manager for Ball’s Operational Space business unit, said in a prepared statement. “JPSS-1 will operationalize the advanced technologies currently being demonstrated on Suomi NPP, and with the satellite’s core structure complete, we can now push on to assembly, integration and test as we prepare for instrument integration in November 2014.”

NASA and NOAA have yet to select a manufacturer for the JPSS-2 satellite, which will carry a similar complement of instruments.