Sierra Nevada Corporation To Support Exelis On Joint Polar Satellite System-2 Mission

Artist's concept of the JPSS-1 satellite. Image Credit: Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corp.

Artist’s concept of the JPSS-1 satellite. Image Credit: Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corp.

May 15, 2015 – Sierra Nevada Corporation’s (SNC) Space Systems of Louisville, Colorado has been competitively selected by Exelis Geospatial Systems to develop and build the Radiation Budget Instrument (RBI) Azimuth Rotation Module (ARM) for the Joint Polar Satellite System-2 (JPSS-2) mission. Exelis is the prime contractor to NASA for the RBI.

The JPSS polar satellite constellation mission will gather global Earth observation data to better predict and monitor climate trends. The Exelis-built RBI scanning radiometer will measure Earth’s reflected sunlight and emitted thermal radiation. Long-term satellite data from RBI will help scientists and researchers understand the links between Earth’s incoming and outgoing energy.

SNC will develop and build the ARM, which will serve as a rotational stage for the RBI Instrument and as the primary interface between the RBI and the JPSS-2 Spacecraft in its Louisville, Colorado, and Durham, North Carolina, facilities.

“SNC is excited to support Exelis on the RBI contract and to be a part of the JPSS-2 team whose work will provide critical Earth science data to allow for more accurate predictions of seasonal climate forecasts, improve global warming tracking and provide an enhanced understanding of cloud and climate feedback that determines climate variations and trends,” said Bryan Helgesen, director of business development for SNC’s Space Systems. “SNC is proud of our long history of developing leading-edge, high-precision technologies for space and our 100 percent on-orbit operational success rate.”

JPSS represents significant technological and scientific advances in environmental monitoring and will help advance weather, climate, environmental and oceanographic forecasting and monitoring with greater accuracy. JPSS delivers key observations for the Nation’s essential products and services, including forecasting severe weather like hurricanes, tornadoes, and blizzards days in advance, and assessing environmental hazards such as droughts, forest fires, poor air quality and harmful coastal waters.

JPSS-1 is being built and integrated at the Ball Aerospace Fisher Integration Facility, Boulder, Colorado and is scheduled to launch in early 2017. Orbital ATK is the primary contractor for JPSS-2, which is planned for launch during the fourth quarter of 2021.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is responsible for managing operations of the JPSS program and NASA is responsible for developing and building the satellite and ground systems.