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Northrop Delivers Ceres Sensor For NPOESS

By | November 10, 2008

      The CERES sensor was delivered a week ahead of schedule and on budget for the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) Preparatory Project (NPP), Northrop Grumman Corp. [NOC] announced.

      Some members of Congress have complained about the pace and cost of the NPOESS project.

      That CERES sensor, which will measure effects of clouds on temperature, is the second to be delivered for NPOESS.

      CERES — the Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System (CERES) sensor — will be integrated onto the NPP spacecraft, which is scheduled to launch in 2010.

      NPP is a joint mission between the tri-agency NPOESS Integrated Program Office and NASA providing risk-reduction for NPOESS.

      NPP will bridge climate measurements between NASA’s Earth Observing System (EOS) research spacecraft and the operational NPOESS system.

      Northrop is the prime contractor for design, development and delivery of NPOESS, and is responsible for overseeing the delivery of three sensors for NPP.

      Northrop modified CERES under contract to Langley Research Center.

      For more than 25 years, Northrop Grumman has supplied CERES and an earlier generation of similar sensors to measure the reflected solar radiation and emitted thermal radiation over the Earth’s surface. The latest sensor, one of six built, underwent electrical and thermal modifications, had updated software installed and was calibrated at the company’s manufacturing facilities in Redondo Beach, Calif.

      Four CERES sensors are currently operational on NASA’s Terra and Aqua Earth Observing System spacecraft. The first CERES sensor to be launched was a part of the Tropical Rainfall Measurement Mission.

      CERES sensors measure thermal radiation from the visible/near-ultraviolet to the far infrared wavelength regions, or in simpler terms, the amount of sunlight reflected from the Earth and atmosphere as well as the thermal energy emitted by the Earth and atmosphere. Changes in the radiation budget can cause significant temperature changes, enough to increase or shrink arable lands, lengthen growing seasons, and enlarge cold zones or deserts.

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