Press Release

Boeing to Build Next-Generation Weather Instrument Under Potential $300 Million Contract

By SpaceRef Editor
August 1, 2001
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Satellite Systems (BSS) was awarded a $130.8 million contract today by
the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System
(NPOESS) Integrated Program Office for two Conical Microwave Imager
Sounder (CMIS) weather instruments.

The contract includes options for up to four additional weather
instruments for a total $298 million contract. BSS is a unit of The
Boeing Company.

NPOESS is the next-generation low earth orbit environmental
satellite system that will save the government $1.8 billion by
converging existing systems operated by the Department of Defense
(DoD) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). CMIS
is one of the weather instruments included on the six NPOESS
satellites. The first CMIS instrument is scheduled for delivery by
2005 with the second to be delivered by 2007. The first NPOESS
satellite is scheduled to be available for launch in 2008.

“Boeing has been deeply committed to advancing the technology that
aids in prediction of weather and can ultimately save lives,” said
Randy Brinkley, president of Boeing Satellite Systems. “We are excited
about the opportunity of making CMIS our third-generation weather
instrument. With more than 100 years of accumulated weather
experience, we have launched a weather satellite or sensor every three
years for the last 20 years. This demonstrates BSS’s heritage and
commitment for meeting the weather satellite requirements for our
customer,” Brinkley added.

CMIS will be the first conical microwave imager/sounder to be
carried on a U.S. civil weather satellite. CMIS will provide three
times better resolution and the capability to detect more weather
phenomena than previous weather instruments. The CMIS weather
instrument will provide timely, accurate and cost-effective weather
data for civilian, military, and scientific users.

CMIS will be an “all weather” sensor with a microwave imager and
sounder capability to provide 20 different environmental data records.
The microwave imager channels help measure environmental data such as
wind speed and direction over the ocean, and soil moisture. The
sounder complements the data provided by the microwave imager in much
the same way that three-dimensional mapping provides a more complete
picture than two-dimensional mapping.

The CMIS sensor consists of three different subsystems: antennas;
receivers; and data handling. The antennas gather microwave energy
from the earth scene. The receivers divide the microwaves into
numerous specific channels and measure the “brightness” of the earth
within each channel. The data handling subsystem formats the weather
data and other critical information for transmission to the ground.
There, algorithms turn the data into maps showing such things as ocean
temperature, ocean wind speed, and snow cover.

As prime contractor, BSS leads a team composed of Atmospheric and
Environmental Research (AER), Inc., of Lexington, Mass.; Remote
Sensing Systems of Santa Rosa, Calif.; Millitech of Northampton,
Mass.; Honeywell Space Systems Division of Clearwater, Fla., and
Integral Systems in Lanham, Md.

The company’s previous meteorological work includes the on-orbit
experience gained from five Geostationary Meteorological Satellites
(GMS) built for Japan, which were launched between 1977 and 1995; and
the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites (GOES D through
H) built for NASA/NOAA, which were launched between 1980 and 1995. BSS
is currently under contract for the next-generation GOES satellites,
designated “N” and “O,” with options for “P” and “Q.” GOES N is
scheduled for launch in early 2003.

Boeing Satellite Systems’ first-generation microwave sensors, the
Special Sensor Microwave Imager (SSM/I) built for the U.S. Air Force’s
Defense Meteorological Satellite Program, have accumulated more than
35 years of flight experience. BSS’ Tropical Rainfall Measuring
Mission Microwave Imager (TMI), built for NASA’s Goddard Space Flight
Center, has been in service for more than three years. CMIS will
follow in the footsteps of the successful SSM/I and is designed with
lessons learned from TMI.

Boeing Satellite Systems is the world’s leading manufacturer of
commercial communications satellites, and is also a major provider of
space systems, satellites, and payloads for national defense, science
and environmental applications.

The Boeing Company is the largest aerospace company in the world
and the United States’ leading exporter. It is NASA’s largest
contractor and the largest manufacturer of commercial jetliners and
military aircraft. The company’s capabilities in aerospace also
include rotorcraft, electronic and defense systems, missiles, rocket
engines, launch vehicles, satellites, and advanced information and
communication systems. The company has an extensive global reach with
customers in 145 countries.

SpaceRef staff editor.