July 13, 2009

NASA awards solar sensor contract

The U.S. space agency says it has awarded a contract to the University of Colorado at Boulder for a total and spectral solar irradiance sensor.

The approximately $42 million contract is for a key instrument for the future National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System, to be known as NPOESS.

NASA said the university's Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics will be responsible for, among other things, the design, engineering analyses, hardware and software development, algorithm development, testing and integration of the instrument with the NPOESS spacecraft.

The sensor will continue key climate measurements of solar irradiance that contribute to determining the Earth's energy balance and understanding how Earth's climate responds to solar variability, the space agency said, noting the development of the TSIS is being conducted under a reimbursable agreement with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.