- Press Release
- Oct 31, 2023
TRW Integrates Science Instruments Onto NASA’s Aqua Spacecraft
has completed the complex task of integrating all six science
instruments onto the Aqua spacecraft, the second in NASA’s series of
Earth Observing System (EOS) satellites.
TRW is building Aqua and its sister spacecraft, EOS Chemistry,
under a contract managed by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.
Aqua’s instruments will take climate-related measurements of the
atmosphere, cloud cover, precipitation, terrestrial snow cover and sea
ice. Comprehensive measurements taken by the instruments will allow
scientists to assess long-term environmental change, identify its
human and natural causes and advance the development of models for
“Aqua is on schedule to meet its late December 2000 launch date,”
said Fred Ricker, vice president and general manager, TRW Space &
Laser Programs Division. “The upcoming environmental test phase will
demonstrate the ability to meet our customer’s stringent performance
objectives on this program.”
Environmental testing of the Aqua spacecraft is scheduled to
begin this spring.
“Instrument integration was a painstaking process requiring great
precision,” said Brooks Vogt, TRW’s EOS Common Spacecraft program
manager. “We drew on our experience integrating more than 550 payloads
to achieve alignments on the spacecraft platform within arc seconds
(one arc second equals 1/3,600 degree). We maintained our production
schedule by integrating each instrument as it was delivered to our
production facilities, using simplified mounting devices.
“We will perform the same procedure on EOS Chemistry, which we
are building and integrating with a different set of instruments,”
Vogt explained. “Our spacecraft design accommodates a variety of
payloads and can be easily adapted to the specific needs of any
low-earth orbiting observation mission.”
Aqua and EOS Chemistry are based on a modular, standardized
spacecraft bus design that allows science instruments to be attached
on a “mix and match” basis without making changes to overall
spacecraft design or subsystem support requirements. The spacecraft
have a six-year design life and will be launched from Delta II launch
vehicles into sun-synchronous orbits. Aqua was formerly known as EOS
To reduce the risk and improve quality on the EOS Common
Spacecraft program, TRW developed an electronic engineering model of
the spacecraft and a software development and verification facility.
These and other risk-reduction efforts are intended to create a
high-reliability and high-performance spacecraft bus.
Aqua and EOS Chemistry are space-based elements of NASA’s Earth
Science Enterprise, a long-term coordinated program to study the Earth
as a single, global environment. Earth science data is already being
used to study the connections among the Earth’s air, water, land and
life. Terra, the first spacecraft in the Earth Science Enterprise
series, was launched in December 1999.
TRW Space & Electronics Group builds communications, scientific
and defense spacecraft for military, civil and commercial customers;
produces, integrates and tests payloads; develops advanced space
instruments; and integrates experiments into spacecraft. It is an
operating unit of TRW Inc., which provides advanced technology
products and services for the global automotive, aerospace and
information systems markets. TRW’s Web site is at www.trw.com.
Note to Editors: Aqua’s instruments include the Atmospheric
Infrared Sounder, built by Lockheed Martin Infrared Imaging Systems;
Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit, built by Aerojet; Advanced Microwave
Scanning Radiometer-EOS, built by Mitsubishi Electronics Corporation
and provided by NASDA-Japan; Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy
System, built by TRW; Humidity Sounder for Brazil, built by
Matra-Marconi and provided by AEB-Brazil; Moderate Resolution Imaging
Spectroradiometer, built by Raytheon Santa Barbara Remote Sensing.
Sally Koris, 310/812-4721