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Lockheed Martin Space Systems has been awarded one of four study contracts by the Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) for the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) Preparatory Project (NPP). NPP is a proposed joint mission to extend key measurements in support of long term monitoring of climate trends and global biological productivity, and also to provide risk reduction for new NPOESS payloads.
"We look forward to working with Goddard in developing NPP spacecraft concepts that support the mission to provide a bridge between NASA’s Earth Observing System mission and NPOESS," said Jeff Smith, Space Systems NPOESS program director, currently at work on an NPOESS
program definition contract. "Our long heritage of building and integrating Earth-monitoring missions like Terra, Landsat, POES and DMSP will serve us well in creating a robust design for this important mission."
NPP will extend the measurement series being initiated with the MODIS instrument on EOS Terra and the AIRS, AMSU and HSB instruments that will fly on EOS Aqua. MODIS-like measurements will be continued using the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS). AIRS-like measurements will be obtained from the Cross-track Infrared Sounder (CrIS). The NPOESS Integrated Program Office (IPO) will provide both of these sensors. The AMSU and HSB measurement series will be extended by the Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder (ATMS), which will be provided by NASA. Thus, NPP will provide NASA with a continuation of global change observations that include monitoring of atmospheric and sea surface temperatures, humidity sounding, land and ocean biological productivity, and cloud and aerosol properties.
In addition, the NPP mission will provide the NPOESS program with early access to the next generation of operational sensors, thereby greatly reducing the risks incurred during the transition from DMSP and POES. This will permit testing of the advanced ground operations facilities and validation of sensors and algorithms while the current operational systems are still in place. This new system will provide nearly an order of magnitude more data than the current operational system.
Launch is planned for late 2005 into an 833 km orbit with a 10:30 am equator crossing time at the descending node. The orbit altitude is forward compatible with the NPOESS, while the crossing time is
backward compatible with the EOS Terra mission. With a five-year design lifetime, NPP will provide data past the planned lifetime of EOS Terra and EOS Aqua and through the expected launch of the first NPOESS spacecraft in 2008.
The spacecraft for NPP, provided by NASA, will accommodate the three instruments, providing direct-to-ground transmission of stored mission instrument data as well as direct broadcast of real-time instrument data. Spacecraft flight operations and the spacecraft operations control center, provided by the NPOESS IPO, will provide the operations of the spacecraft and instruments, including on-orbit instrument calibration activities.
The proposed NPP mission is currently in the formulation phase, and, should NASA and IPO agree to proceed to implementation, would enter into the implementation phase in 2001. The ATMS instrument, being the subject of a separate NASA-IPO agreement, will proceed to
implementation in 2000 in order to support delivery to the NPP
mission in 2004.
A team headed by Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Sunnyvale, CA was awarded one of two program definition contracts in 1999 to design, build, and operate NPOESS. The NPOESS IPO — comprised of officials from the Commerce Department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration (NOAA), the U.S. Air Force at the Department of
Defense (DoD), and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) — awarded the contracts. A single contractor will be selected for the Engineering Manufacturing Development phase in March 2001.
NPOESS will merge the United States civil and military operational meteorological satellite systems into a single system that will
satisfy both civil and national security requirements for space-based, remotely-sensed environmental data. It will provide civilian leaders and military commanders timely, high quality meteorological and
environmental data to protect national resources and effectively employ weapons systems.
Lockheed Martin Space Systems, in Sunnyvale, CA, is a leading supplier of satellites and space systems to military, civil government and commercial communications organizations around the world. These
spacecraft and systems have enhanced military and commercial
communications, provided new and timely remote-sensing information, and furnished new data for thousands of scientists studying our planet and the universe.
For more information about Lockheed Martin Space Systems-Sunnyvale, see our website at