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ITT-Built Cross-Track Infrared Sounder Making Good Progress in Integration and Test

By | September 10, 2007

      A key sensor being built for the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) passed a critical test last month. Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) is the prime contractor for NPOESS; ITT Corporation (NYSE:ITT) is the subcontractor responsible for developing the sensor.

      The Cross-Track Infrared Sounder (CrIS), the next-generation atmospheric sounding instrument for improved weather forecasting, successfully passed a frame proof test. The metal composite structure, designed to support various sensor modules, underwent a vibration test that simulated the loads the sensor will experience during system test and launch — without any change to mechanical or dynamic signatures.

      The frame test marks the conclusion of an extended analysis and design effort undertaken since October 2006.

      "The modules in this sensor have been thoroughly tested and will be ready for flight," said Frank Koester, vice president of Commercial & Space Science for ITT Space Systems Division. "The CrIS sensor and structural frame is now very robust and we’re confident it will meet the mission objectives."

      The next step in the sensor’s development is final subsystem testing, system-level re-integration of the CrIS sensor, followed by electromagnetic interference, vibration, and thermal vacuum testing. The flight unit is scheduled to be delivered by May 2008 for integration on the NPOESS Preparatory Project (NPP) spacecraft.

      "The design integrity of CrIS has been strengthened through this process," said Dave Ryan, vice president and NPOESS program director for Northrop Grumman’s Space Technology sector. "As part of the operational NPOESS system, CrIS will provide more accurate, detailed atmospheric temperature and moisture observations for weather and climate applications."

      CrIS will play a primary role in providing the global soundings required for numerical weather forecasting and other atmospheric variables needed for climate monitoring and prediction. In addition, CrIS will provide useful information on cloud top height and ice/water phases.

      CrIS is one of four sensors that will be a part of the NPP risk reduction mission and one of nine sensors currently manifested for the operational NPOESS system. NPOESS, the nation’s next generation low-Earth orbiting operational environmental system for civilian and military applications, has been on cost and on schedule for nearly two years.

      Sensors Pulled From NPOESS May Return On NPP

      By Jen DiMascio

      Sensors pulled off the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System to control costs may make their way back onto the system, an industry official said yesterday.

      A decision about whether to "remanifest" a limb sensor that was created before officials made the decision to pull it from the satellite could be made by the fall, Dave Ryan, vice president and NPOESS program director for Northrop Grumman Corp. [NOC] unit Space Technology, told reporters during a teleconference.

      The sensor was previously made but not integrated, he said, and can be tested with the rest of the suite, he said. Tests on the sensor are under way, and it is on track to return to the NPOESS National Preparatory Project (NPP), Ryan said.

      Earlier this summer, an administration official told Congress abandoning plans to place those sensors on NPOESS satellites would save the government money.

      In addition, Northrop Grumman said that a sensor designed to improve weather forecasting called the Cross-Track Infrared Sounder (CrIS) had passed a "frame proof test."

      Next up for CrIS, made by ITT [ITT], is a final subsystem test, system-level reintegration of the sensor and additional testing for electromagnetic interference, vibration and thermal vacuum.

      "The flight unit is scheduled to be delivered by May 2008 for integration" on the NPP spacecraft.

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