Press Release

Key Sensor for Northrop Grumman NPOESS Program Passes Critical Structural Test

By SpaceRef Editor
September 6, 2007
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Key Sensor for Northrop Grumman NPOESS Program Passes Critical Structural Test

ITT-Built Cross-Track Infrared Sounder Making Good Progress in Integration and Test

A key sensor being built for the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) passed a critical test last month. Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC – News) is the prime contractor for NPOESS; ITT Corporation (NYSE:ITT – News) is the subcontractor responsible for developing the sensor.

The Cross-Track Infrared Sounder (CrIS), the next-generation atmospheric sounding instrument for improved weather forecasting, successfully passed a frame proof test. The metal composite structure, designed to support various sensor modules, underwent a vibration test that simulated the loads the sensor will experience during system test and launch — without any change to mechanical or dynamic signatures.

The frame test marks the conclusion of an extended analysis and design effort undertaken since October 2006.

“The modules in this sensor have been thoroughly tested and will be ready for flight,” said Frank Koester, vice president of Commercial & Space Science for ITT Space Systems Division. “The CrIS sensor and structural frame is now very robust and we’re confident it will meet the mission objectives.”

The next step in the sensor’s development is final subsystem testing, system-level re-integration of the CrIS sensor, followed by electromagnetic interference, vibration, and thermal vacuum testing. The flight unit is scheduled to be delivered by May 2008 for integration on the NPOESS Preparatory Project (NPP) spacecraft.

“The design integrity of CrIS has been strengthened through this process,” said Dave Ryan, vice president and NPOESS program director for Northrop Grumman’s Space Technology sector. “As part of the operational NPOESS system, CrIS will provide more accurate, detailed atmospheric temperature and moisture observations for weather and climate applications.”

CrIS will play a primary role in providing the global soundings required for numerical weather forecasting and other atmospheric variables needed for climate monitoring and prediction. In addition, CrIS will provide useful information on cloud top height and ice/water phases. CrIS is one of four sensors that will be a part of the NPP risk reduction mission and one of nine sensors currently manifested for the operational NPOESS system. NPOESS, the nation’s next generation low-Earth orbiting operational environmental system for civilian and military applications, has been on cost and on schedule for nearly two years.

ITT Corporation ( supplies advanced technology products and services in several growth markets. Headquartered in White Plains, N.Y., the company generated $7.8 billion in 2006 sales.

Northrop Grumman Corporation is a $30 billion 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.


Sally Koris
Northrop Grumman Space Technology
(310) 812-4721

Bernice Borrelli
ITT Corporation

SpaceRef staff editor.