Raytheon Company
has won a $152.8 million contract to provide the imaging
sensor instruments for a polar-orbiting satellite system that will provide
accurate weather forecasts for civilian science and national defense

The system, called the National Polar-Orbiting Operational Environmental
Satellite System (NPOESS), will replace the Department of Commerce’s Polar-
orbiting Operational Environmental Satellites (POES) and the Defense
Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) satellites.

“Raytheon offered the best value and lowest risk to the U.S. government
for the development of a Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS)
instrument to be carried by the new system’s satellites,” said John D.
Cunningham, system program director at the NPOESS Integrated Program Office.
“Raytheon was rated exceptional in system optimization, sensor system design,
and systems engineering, integration and test.”

Under this contract, Raytheon will perform the detailed design,
development and testing of the VIIRS instrument.
The company will deliver
three flight units, plus provide options for five additional units.
will provide data for production of Environmental Data Records (EDRs),
including imagery, sea surface temperature, low light imaging and ocean color.
EDRs will be produced on the ground from the data provided by the VIIRS using
algorithms also developed by Raytheon.
Design of the instrument is based on
risk reduction studies performed by the company under a $36.8 million contract
awarded in July, 1997.

“Winning this very significant contract reinforces the company’s position
as a major supplier of space-based technologies for both civil and defense
missions,” said William H. Swanson, president of Raytheon’s Electronic Systems
“Our engineers, technicians and managers have successfully
leveraged Raytheon’s extensive experience in producing highly accurate and
reliable remote sensing instruments to provide the customer with a VIIRS
design that will provide information for a wide variety of data collection
requirements, including meteorological, oceanographic, climatic and space
environmental information.”

Raytheon’s Santa Barbara Remote Sensing (SBRS) operation in Goleta,
Calif., where work on the VIIRS will be performed, is the world’s leading
manufacturer of precision, high reliability, remote sensing instruments for
use in atmospheric, planetary, and land research science.
With a combined
operating life exceeding 324 instrument-years in space, and an actual
instrument lives three times greater than design requirements, the company’s
instruments are the most reliable space-qualified sensors worldwide.

The company is a long-standing supplier of
instruments for NASA’s Mission
to Planet Earth.
Systems built by the SBRS, which are now collecting data on
a daily basis, include the SeaWiFS ocean color sensor on the SeaStar
spacecraft, the Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) sensor onboard the
Landsat 7 spacecraft, the Visible Infra Red Scanner (VIRS) for the Japan/US
Tropical Rainfall Measurement Mission, and the Moderate Resolution Imaging
Spectroradiometer (MODIS) flight instruments onboard NASA’s TERRA Earth
Observing System. SBRS is also building the second MODIS instrument for AQUA,
the next earth observing system to be launched by NASA.

The NPOESS Integrated Program Office (IPO), which provides for the
planning, development, management, acquisition and operation of the new
system, awarded the contract.
The IPO is a tri-agency office reporting
through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to an executive
committee composed of under secretary/administrator level officials of the
Departments of Commerce, Defense and the National Aeronautics and Space
The U.S. Air Force will perform administration of the
contract for the IPO.

Raytheon Company, based in Lexington, Mass., is a global technology leader
that provides products and services in the areas of commercial and defense
electronics, and business and special mission aircraft. Raytheon has
operations throughout the United States and serves customers in more than 70