REDONDO BEACH, Calif., Dec. 1, 2008 -- Ambient Electro-Magnetic Interference (EMI) testing was successfully completed on the Visible Infrared Imager Radiometer Sensor (VIIRS) for the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) by Northrop Grumman Corporation's (NYSE:NOC) subcontractor, Raytheon Company.
The testing at Raytheon's manufacturing facility in El Segundo, Calif. Verified that the VIIRS flight unit operates in a space-like configuration without emitting or being susceptible to electro-magnetic signals that could interfere with the spacecraft or other sensors' operations.
Comprehensive vibration testing is expected to start this month. Next year, the flight instrument will be subject to thermal vacuum testing, which will last for several months. During this time, VIIRS will be subjected to thermal cycles typical of the space environment.
"Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and our government customer have been working together closely to resolve technical issues on this sensor," said Dave Vandervoet, vice president of the Civil Systems Division of the Northrop Grumman Space Technology sector. "Completion of ambient EMI testing is a significant achievement and paves the way for us to move forward with the final environmental tests on this flight unit for delivery to the NPP spacecraft."
Northrop Grumman is the prime contractor for NPOESS, leading an industry team under a government contract to the NPOESS Integrated Program Office and headed by a tri-agency group of the U.S. Department of Defense, Department of Commerce, and NASA. The flight unit's cryoradiator completed component level thermal vacuum testing and ambient testing earlier this year to demonstrate technical performance and has the capacity to withstand the space environment. The sensor Engineering Development Unit passed all planned environmental tests under a previous phase of development for the program.
VIIRS will collect visible/infrared imagery and radiometric data on the atmosphere, clouds, Earth radiation budget, clear-air land/water surfaces, sea surface temperature, and ocean color, as well as low-light visible imagery. The sensor will offer dramatic and unprecedented spatial, spectral, and radiometric performance improvements compared with current operational capabilities.
"This is an important milestone that further validates the technical performance of the VIIRS instrument, which will provide critical new capabilities in weather forecasting, disaster response and warfighter planning," said Brian Arnold, Raytheon Space Systems vice president.
The VIIRS flight unit will be integrated onto the NPOESS Preparatory Project (NPP) spacecraft acquired by NASA. NPP is the precursor for NPOESS and will provide technical risk reduction and data continuity between NASA's scientific Earth Observing System (EOS) satellites, Terra, Aqua, and Aura, and the operational NPOESS system.
Northrop Grumman Corporation is a global defense and technology company whose 120,000 employees provide innovative systems, products, and solutions in information and services, electronics, aerospace, and shipbuilding to government and commercial customers worldwide.
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