Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. took delivery June 18 of the Cross-track Infrared Sounder (CrIS) and has begun integrating the tardy instrument with the NPOESS Preparatory Project (NPP) satellite, the Boulder, Colo.-based company said June 30.

Ball expects to complete integration of the ITT-build CrIS instrument by mid-July. NPP is expected to launch in late 2011 from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., aboard a Delta 2 rocket.

CrIS is the last of five instruments to be installed onboard the NPP spacecraft platform, which was to have served as an instrument test bed for the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System but has been thrust into an operational role due to NPOESS delays. Those delays prompted the White House in February to order the Pentagon and civilian agencies to pursue separate weather satellite systems.

The planned civilian weather constellation, the Joint Polar Satellite System, is expected to begin launching in 2014 with a satellite based on NPP, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration confirmed June 25.