The nation’s next-generation, space-based weather system took another step forward with the successful completion of a system requirements review (SRR) at TRW Inc. (NYSE:TRW) based on requirements provided by the government in 1999.     The TRW/Raytheon team working on the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) presented results from system requirements analyses and system architecture trade studies for an operational system in meetings with representatives of the NPOESS Integrated Program Office (IPO). The NPOESS IPO will take the recommendations into consideration and define program requirements — paving the way for the design phase of the NPOESS program to begin.
    "Our team has conducted a comprehensive set of system trades for the space, ground and data processing and dissemination network," said Fred Ricker, vice president and general manager, TRW Space & Laser Programs division. "Drawing on our extensive systems experience as a prime contractor, we’re making great progress developing the most affordable yet flexible and robust system. NPOESS will provide significantly improved operational capabilities and benefits to satisfy the nation’s critical civil and national security requirements for space-based, remotely sensed environmental data."
    The team is working under a 27-month Program Definition and Risk Reduction (PDRR) contract, awarded by the NPOESS IPO in December 1999. The IPO is jointly funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration, NASA and the U.S. Air Force. A contract to build the NPOESS system will be awarded in 2002, following a downselect by the IPO between competing contractors. The first NPOESS satellite will be available for launch in 2008.
    NPOESS merges the nation’s current civilian and military weather polar-orbiting satellite programs into a single, national program, providing increased capability at a reduced overall cost to the nation. The system will provide timely and accurate weather and environmental data to weather forecasters, military commanders, civilian leaders and the scientific community.
    A separate NOAA/NASA joint program, formed to reduce risk on NPOESS, is moving forward. The NPOESS Preparatory Project (NPP) will assess the operational capability of three critical NPOESS instruments. The successful NPOESS engineering, manufacturing and development contractor will provide two of the three instruments, the ground elements and project operations to the NPP partnership. NPP is scheduled for launch in 2005, several years prior to the first NPOESS launch. TRW is also competing for the next NPP spacecraft study phase.
    As prime contractor with responsibility for overall system design and the space segment, TRW is bringing its systems and weather capabilities to the NPOESS program. TRW is also the prime contractor for two of NASA’s Earth Observing System spacecraft, Aqua and Aura, which will study long-term climate change.
    As the teammate with responsibility for command and control, mission data processing and system engineering support, Raytheon brings to NPOESS its experience developing ground systems for defense and earth observation programs. Raytheon is also providing Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite instrument flight units for NPOESS under a recently awarded contract.     TRW has been developing satellite systems for NASA’s most challenging scientific, environmental and communications missions since 1958. Based in Cleveland, Ohio, TRW provides advanced technology products and services for automotive, space and defense, telecommunications and information technology markets worldwide. TRW news releases are available on the corporate Web site: