A new tool that boosts satellite weather forecasting capabilities and built by aerospace and defense contractor L3Harris Technologies has launched on a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration vessel now in orbit.
The Cross-Track Infrared Sounder is expected to help the NOAA improve the exactitude of its short-term weather condition predictions as well as anticipate extreme weather scenarios such as tornadoes and hurricanes, the Melbourne, Florida-based company said Thursday.
Rob Mitrevski, vice president and general manager of spectral solutions within the space and airborne systems division of L3Harris, commented that, if successful, the CrIS instrument will help save lives and avoid damages from weather-based natural disasters through its enhancements in accuracy.
L3Harris’ tool is on board the NOAA’s Joint Polar Satellite System-2 weather satellite, which undertakes 14 orbits of the earth daily. The CrIS is a hyperspectral sounder that acts as a sensor, amassing infrared data that assists with both immediate and long-term forecasts. It can access more than 2,000 infrared channels and additionally has the capacity to contribute to environmental and climate projections along with greenhouse gas concentration information.
Specifically, the CrIS gathers temperature and water vapor data that is understood to be more precise than that of previously used technologies. It is slated to help the NOAA complete its mission of better preparing the U.S. population for upcoming shifts in weather.
In the future, it has been reported the CrIS will be incorporated on JPSS-3 and JPSS-4. The series is comprised of environmental machines born from a collaboration between NOAA and NASA, with the next iterations set to take flight in 2027 and 2032, sequentially.
A number of other L3Harris products are also present on the JPPS-2, like X-band and Ka-band payloads which convey images and critical information; a package of rocket launch avionics; and S-band transceiver uplinks.
The partnership between L3Harris and NOAA comes after another satellite-related transaction: the former organization’s $700 million July contract award from the Space Development Agency for the production of a fleet of Tranche 1 Tracking Layer satellites.