May 4, 2009

NASA awards CERES science contract

The U.S. space agency says it has awarded the Northrop Grumman Corp. a contract for construction of the Clouds and Earth Radiant Energy System.

National Aeronautics and Space Administration officials at the Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., said the contract will support the design, manufacture, assembly, test and calibration of the system, also know as the CERES Flight Model 6 instrument.

The cost-plus-award fee, incentive fee 10-year contract has a maximum value of $44.5 million.

The CERES instruments are broadband radiometers that scan Earth, observing reflected shortwave and Earth-emitted radiance, NASA said. These observations are used to measure the time and space distributions of incoming energy from the sun and outgoing thermal and reflected energy from Earth -- known as Earth's radiation budget. The measurements aid in the development of a quantitative understanding of the links between the radiation budget and the properties of the atmosphere and surface that define it, and improve models of Earth's climate system.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is funding the project under a reimbursable agreement with NASA.