Raytheon is to build the Geostationary Littoral Imaging and Monitoring Radiometer (GLIMR) sensor, which will fly aboard a Nasa satellite to measure coastal and ocean ecosystems.

The sensor will be built by Raytheon under a contract awarded by the University of New Hampshire in the US.

Earlier this month, the university secured a $108m contract for the sensor to help Nasa study oceans.

The GLIMR is a space-based instrument under Nasa’s Earth Venture Instrument-5 investigation and serves as the agency’s first hyperspectral imager in geostationary orbit.

The instrument will offer unique observations of ocean biology, chemistry and ecology in the Gulf of Mexico, sections of the south-eastern US coastline, and the Amazon River plume.

It will be capable of gathering many observations of a given area to study natural and manmade disasters such as coastal phytoplankton blooms or oil spills. It protects coastal ecosystem’s sustainability and improves resources management.

Raytheon Space Systems principal engineering fellow Jeff Puschell said: “GLIMR will collect the sharpest and most colourful view of physical and biological conditions in coastal waters ever seen from GEO.

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“A hyperspectral imager is essential technology to capture new insight about our changing coastal ecosystems.”

The instrument is expected to launch aboard its host spacecraft during 2026-2027.

The GLIMR data will be made available to scientists and researchers worldwide to better understand coastal regions.

In June, Raytheon and United Technologies (UTC) agreed to combine their aerospace and defence capabilities in one of the largest corporate mergers this year.