Nasa has awarded a contract to Ball Aerospace to build the ozone mapping and profiler suite (OMPS) instruments for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) Polar Follow-On/JPSS-3 and JPSS-4 missions.

Under a sole source contract modification, the contract is valid for a period of ten years and valued approximately $214m for a total value of around $421m.

Under the deal, Ball will build, test and deliver the OMPS JPSS-3 and JPSS-4 instruments, which are composed of a nadir sensor and electronics module, as well as provide launch and post-launch support for both.

Ball Aerospace OMPS deputy programme manager and project scientist Sarah Lipscy said: "OMPS data has proven valuable in monitoring volcanic eruptions and routing aircraft safely around those eruptions.

"It is also being used to monitor the air quality in the upper atmosphere from pollution, dust and smoke."

OMPS helps tracking the health of the ozone layer and measures the concentration of ozone in the Earth’s atmosphere and is now flying on the joint NASA-NOAA Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (Suomi NPP) mission.

"OMPS data has proven valuable in monitoring volcanic eruptions and routing aircraft safely around those eruptions."

The instrument continues the current daily global data provided by the Solar Backscatter Ultraviolet radiometer-2, built by Ball Aerospace and Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer.

The collection of data from OMPS contributes towards achieving the US treaty obligation to observe the ozone depletion according to the Montreal Protocol to ensure no gaps on ozone coverage and extends over three decades of total-ozone and ozone-profile records.

OMPS products, when merged with cloud predictions, also help produce better ultraviolet index forecasts.

The OMPS data is also used to measure atmospheric conditions, including ash from volcanic eruptions, which are used in aircraft safety warnings.

Funded by NOAA, JPSS provides necessary weather observation data to NOAA’s National Weather Service, in which Nasa acts as the acquisition agent for the flight systems and components of the ground system. It also offers programme systems engineering, programme safety, mission assurance and end-to-end system verification services.

In addition, Ball Aerospace has started environmental testing on NOAA’s Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS-1) satellite, which will represent technological and scientific advancements in severe weather prediction and environmental monitoring and will further weather, climate, environmental and oceanographic science.