A critical sensor for the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) has successfully completed all testing and is ready for delivery.

NPOESS is a next-generation, low-earth orbiting NASA satellite operational weather and climate monitoring system being developed by NASA. The satellite will collect, disseminate and process data about Earth’s weather, atmosphere, oceans, land and near-space environment to enhance disaster planning.

The visible infrared imaging radiometer suite (VIIRS) sensor for NPOESS will collect visible/infrared imagery. The sensor will also gather radiometric data on the atmosphere, clouds, earth radiation budget, clear-air land/water surfaces, sea surface temperature and ocean colour.

The tests on the sensor that were evaluated by Northrop and Raytheon included thermal vacuum and post-thermal vacuum testing, electromagnetic interference and vibration testing.

Raytheon Space Systems vice president Bill Hart said that the first VIIRS flight unit has successfully demonstrated its readiness for on-orbit operation.