Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., Boulder, Colo., completed a critical design review Dec. 13 of the platform for the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS)-1, a civilian weather satellite slated to launch around 2017, according to a Jan. 8 press release.

The review highlighted design differences between JPSS-1 and its predecessor, the Ball-built Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership satellite that launched in October 2011, and cleared the way to begin full-scale production of the new satellite, Ball said in its press release.

In August, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which operates U.S. civilian weather satellites, finalized contracts for JPSS-1 totaling about $650 million. Ball has a $280.4 million contract for the JPSS-1 spacecraft platform, or bus, and a $61.1 million contract for the spacecraft’s Ozone Mapper Profiler Suite instrument.

In a separate Jan. 8 press release, Ball said it was ahead of scheduled with its work on the Ozone Mapper Profiler Suite. The integrated instrument is scheduled to begin testing this spring, Ball said.

The finished instrument should be ready in “late 2013,” which the company said is seven months ahead of the delivery date in its contract with NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., which is managing the procurement for NOAA.

Ball also built the Ozone Mapper Profiler Suite instrument aboard the Suomi satellite.