[SatNews] Exelis (NYSE: XLS) has delivered the primary payload for the future Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-R (GOES-R) weather satellite—the Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI), which provides high-resolution imagery of environmental conditions, has arrived in Denver where it will be integrated into its GOES-R satellite for a scheduled 2016 launch.
The completed ABI is the first of four satellite payloads Exelis is building for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The second instrument is entering thermal vacuum testing in Rochester, N.Y., where it will be exposed to harsh space-like conditions as the second part of its environmental testing process.
“Delivery for integration into the satellite is an important milestone because it moves NOAA closer to providing weather forecasters with information and tools to improve the accuracy and lead time of severe storms,” said Eric Webster, vice president of the Exelis Geospatial Systems weather business area. “As the foundation of NOAA’s severe weather forecasting capability, the ABI will provide better insight into the makeup of storms, higher-resolution images and will transmit data five times faster than today’s capability.”
The ABI is part of the next generation GOES-R series program jointly managed by NASA and NOAA. Developed out of Exelis core competencies in weather and image science, ABI technology reflects the company’s focus and expertise in the area of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and analytics. The GOES-R series of satellites will be positioned 22,300 miles above Earth providing 24-hour-a-day coverage of the Western Hemisphere with visible and infrared imagery. The National Weather Service relies on data from NOAA’s geosynchronous satellites to accurately forecast and monitor severe weather like tornadoes and hurricanes, providing the very images people see on television and Internet reports. GOES-R will improve severe weather data in addition to data used for monitoring rainfall precipitation, wildfires and volcanic ash. NOAA estimates the GOES-R series program will save $4.6 billion in economic losses with improved forecasts and information.
Exelis has built every imager and sounder payload for NOAA’s GOES satellites since 1994 and was awarded the contract to build the ABI instruments in 2004. Exelis is also on contract to build similar instruments for Japan and South Korea. In total, Exelis has built more than 60 meteorological payloads for the U.S. government and international customers during the past 40 years.
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