Microwave Journal

Northrop Grumman to Complete Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder for NASA

December 8, 2011

Northrop Grumman Corp. will build and deliver the Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder (ATMS) for the Joint Polar Satellite Systems (JPSS) under a contract with NASA. JPSS is a system of polar-orbiting satellites to be developed by NASA for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for weather forecasting, storm tracking and climate monitoring. The ATMS instrument is the second flight model and is slated to fly on the first JPSS satellite in 2016. The first ATMS was completed in 2005 and has been integrated on the NPOESS Preparatory Project (NPP) satellite, which is scheduled to launch in October.

"The successful contract transition is an important milestone for the Joint Polar Satellite Systems, since ATMS is one of its key operational weather sensors," said Dr. Steve Toner, Vice President of Northrop Grumman's Overhead Persistent Infrared and Azusa Programs business unit. "The Flight 2 development, build and test have proceeded smoothly and follow the success of the Flight 1 instrument for NPOESS Preparatory Project."

ATMS will provide critical microwave data, including atmospheric temperature and moisture profiles, to support weather forecasting for the operational JPSS system. The instrument has 22 channels spanning the frequency band from 23.8 to 183.3 GHz. It was designed to be the functional equivalent follow-on to the Advanced Microwave Sounder Units with improved sampling and coverage.

"Our experience in creating the ATMS engineering development unit and delivering the NPOESS Preparatory Project flight unit showed our capability to support the customer," said Steve Opel, ATMS Program Manager at Northrop Grumman. "This transition of the second flight unit to the Joint Polar Satellite Systems not only capitalizes fully on that previous experience, but also demonstrates our commitment to developing a long-term partnership with both NASA and NOAA on this program."