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Exelis Secures Contract for NASA Radiation Budget Instrument

By | June 3, 2014
      Suomi NOAA NASA image

      An image of North America from the NOAA/NASA Suomi NPP satellite. Photo: NOAA

      [Via Satellite 06-03-2014] NASA awarded a $208 million contract to Exelis to build the Radiation Budget Instrument (RBI), a scanning radiometer that can measure Earth’s reflected sunlight and emitted thermal radiation. The instrument will judge the effects of clouds on the Earth’s energy balance. The contract entails one flight unit with the option for two more instruments and related support.

      RBI will provide more accurate measurements than the Clouds and Earth’s Radiant Energy System (CERES) instrument operating on the Suomi National Polar-Orbiting Partnership satellite. RBI is slated to launch aboard the second Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) spacecraft in 2021. JPSS is a joint environmental monitoring program between NASA and NOAA, for which Exelis also is building the Cross Track Infrared Sounder (CrIS) instruments.

      “Through advances in technology and calibration techniques, RBI will improve our understanding of clouds and their role in the atmosphere, which is essential for longer-term weather forecasts and improving climate models,” said Eric Webster, VP of weather systems at Exelis. “RBI data will also play a critically important short-term meteorological role, providing fundamental inputs to weather forecasts of 10 days or longer.”