The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on March 28 announced details of a planned bulk order of instruments to be launched next decade aboard future Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) weather forecasting spacecraft.

The sensors for the JPSS-1 and JPSS-2 satellites, slated for launch in 2017 and late 2021, respectively, are under contract. Now NOAA wants to get instruments for the final satellites in the series, JPSS-3 and JPSS-4, as well as spares, under contract. 

According to a March 28 procurement note from NASA, which builds NOAA’s weather satellites, the latest order covers:

  • Three Advanced Technology Microwave Sounders from Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems.
  • Three Cross-Track Infrared Sounders from Exelis Geospatial Systems.
  • Two Visible Infrared Imager Radiometer Suite instruments from Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems.
  • Two Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite instruments from Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp.

JPSS-3 and JPSS-4 will carry all four instrument types, according to NASA’s note. The third Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder and Cross-Track Infrared Sounder would be spares. An independent review panel recommended in 2013 that NOAA integrate those instruments onto a small polar-orbiter that could launch by 2016 as a hedge against premature JPSS satellite failure.

NOAA has neither committed to nor ruled out that idea. 

Ball is building the JPSS-1 satellite platform. NASA has yet to select a builder for any of the subsequent craft.