Sensor for NPOESS

NASA and NOAA Wednesday have announced a plan to restore an ozone layer climate sensor to the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) program.

The Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite (OMPS) Limb will be returned to NPOESS Preparatory Project (NPP) satellite that is set to launch in 2009.

The NPOESS partners will give conditional authority to Northrop Grumman Space Technology to proceed with restoration of the instrument. The effort will depend on successful negotiations between the company and the government on the full cost of the work.

The NPOESS is a tri-agency environmental monitoring program directed by the Department of Commerce, the Department of Defense and NASA. A recent restructuring of the program had removed the OMPS Limb sensor from the NPP mission.

Restoring the OMPS Limb sensor directly addresses one of the recommendations of the recently released National Research Council’s report “Earth Science Applications from Space: National Imperatives for the Next Decade and Beyond.”

With the launch of the first spacecraft planned for 2013, NPOESS will bring improved data and imagery that will allow better weather forecasts, severe-weather monitoring and detection of climate change.

The NPOESS preparatory mission will provide continuity of observations taken by NASA’s Earth Observing System satellites Aqua and Terra. The NPP mission also will provide risk reduction for three of the NPOESS critical sensors, as well as the data processing and ground systems.

NOAA and NASA have agreed to share equally the cost to restore the OMPS Limb to the NPP spacecraft. The OMPS Limb will measure the vertical distribution of ozone, giving scientists a better understanding of the structure of the atmosphere.