NPOESS Imager Delivered

This week, while the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System was a hot topic at the AMS Annual Meeting, Northrop Grumman delivered a critical NPOESS sensor, the Visible Infrared Imager Radiometer Suite (VIIRS).
The VIIRS aboard NPOESS will provide highly detailed imagery of clouds, vegetation, snow cover, dust storms, and other environmental phenomena.
“The delivery of VIIRS enables us to move ahead on an advanced system consisting of spacecraft, sensors, and a ground segment that is already well underway,” said Dave Vandervoet, NPOESS program manager for Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems.  “This program made terrific progress last year, and the vast majority of the development risk is behind us now.  The sensor that was delivered will be integrated on to the NPOESS Preparatory Project spacecraft, which will be launched next year.”
Raytheon built the instrument under contract to NPOESS prime contractor, Northrop Grumman.
A second VIIRS flight unit scheduled for deployment on the first NPOESS spacecraft, known as C1, is progressing as well.
For samples of next-generation satellite imagery from NPOESS, check out the NexSat web page from Naval Research Labs in Monterey, which was described in the April 2006 issue of BAMS.

Image from NexSat.

Making a MoPED with Big Rigs

Speaking of the future of weather information along transportation corridors, one of the presenters in the Weather and Transportation sessions Monday (1:30 p.m.) is Brian Bell of Global Science & Technology, an exhibitor at the upcoming Annual Meeting. His topic is a project that will show NOAA how well the commercial trucking fleet can serve as an automated system to gather and report weather information on the road, just as airliners do in the air.
Last year at the AMS meeting GS&T demonstrated a novel mobile weather station with an inflatable satellite dish for easy deployment. But this fall the West Virginia company won the  9-month contract from NOAA to build the Mobile Platform Environmental Data observation network (MoPED). To learn more about the project before the Annual Meeting, see this article from the Times West Virginian.