Critical Sensor Payload Contracts of $67 Million Awarded to Two Primes for NPOESS Systems: One Massachusetts Company, AER, Teamed with Both

AER Supports Contracting Primes as Premier Algorithm Developer for Three Critical Sensor Payloads Being Designed for the National Polar-Orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS).

Cambridge, Massachusetts -- Atmospheric and Environmental Research (AER), Inc. has been awarded $13.1 million to serve as premier algorithm developers for three critical sensor payload study contracts, which have been awarded by the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) Integrated Program Office (IPO) to contract primes ITT Aerospace/Communications Division (ITTA/CD) and Hughes Space and Communications Company. NPOESS combines the country's military and civilian weather satellite programs, the National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration's (NOAA) Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellites (POES) and the Department of Defense's (DoD) Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) into a single system. Established by a directive from President Clinton in May 1994, NPOESS is expected to provide up to $300 million in government cost savings through 1999 and up to 1 billion over the life of the program.

A combined $35 million in risk reduction contracts for two of the sensor systems which will provide critical operational weather and environmental monitoring, was awarded to ITT Aerospace/Communications Division. AER joined ITTA/CD in partnership along with Hughes Information Technology Systems Corporation, Bomem, and Ball Aerospace. AER supports the team as algorithm developer for the Cross-Track Infrared Sensor (CrIS), which will measure the vertical temperature and humidity profile of the atmosphere and the Visible/Infrared Imager Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) which will provide a range of 29 different measurements from ocean temperature to cloud cover.

For the $32 million Conical Microwave Imager Sounder (CMIS) sensor contract, AER teamed with prime, Hughes Space and Communications Company and teammates Hughes STX, Raytheon E-Systems, and Millitech. CMIS will measure ocean surface wind speed and direction, soil moisture, surface temperature, temperature and moisture profiles through clouds, cloud liquid water, and land surface characteristics such as sea ice and snow cover.

NPOESS will provide crucial meteorological, oceanographic, environmental, climatic, and space information for improved environmental understanding, aviation safety, air quality management, agricultural practices, and severe storm forecasting and tracking. The integrated NPOESS is expected to increase system performance capability due to the synergistic effects of combining the resources and capabilities of separate polar programs. Formerly "unfulfilled requirements" can be addressed by NPOESS in a manner not previously possible. In this vein, a key strategy of NPOESS is to optimize the development of critical sensor payloads by the unprecedented participation of the algorithm developer in the sensor design process. Rather than developing algorithms after the instruments have been built, AER will be involved in the testing, verification,and evaluation of the sensors, monitoring their performance against the end-user requirements. This optimizes the performance of the sensor and reduces development costs. AER's role in the development of algorithms for several of the sensors enables a cross-sensor approach, thereby giving end-users more comprehensive access to the data.

AER's specific NPOESS experience began as a team member participant for the initial concept study and risk reduction phases of the predecessor DoD DMSP Block 6 follow-on program. Later AER was a team member in the original NPOESS Phase 0 concept study program. Upon restructuring of the NPOESS program procurement in early 1996, AER management decided to team with multiple key prime contractors pursuing critical sensor payload contracts in its diverse areas of expertise.

AER's unique role as select algorithm developers for NPOESS is the culmination of 20 years of proven success in algorithm development for NPOESS cooperating agencies: NOAA, NASA, and the DoD. "We are proud and privileged to team with aerospace industry leaders such as ITT and HSC as select providers of an end-to-end performance evaluation of the sensors which optimizes sensor development and cuts down cost before the instruments are manufactured and implemented", said AER Chairman, Dr. Nien Dak Sze.

AER remote sensing capabilities include science and phenomenology algorithm specification and trade studies; algorithm development, testing, and validation; the application of algorithms to sensor payload trades; algorithm implementation and user applications including nephanalysis, numerical weather prediction (local, regional, global scales), ozone depletion , global warming, climate change, air quality assessments and aviation weather systems; and independent scientific validation and verification.

The company's expertise in satellite meteorology, ozone mapping, numerical weather prediction, radiative transfer, circulation diagnostics, and air quality enhances its algorithm development process by contributing an end-user perspective. This multi-disciplinary, end-to-end approach optimizes AER's understanding and fulfillment of NPOESS requirements.

Atmospheric and Environmental Research, Inc. (AER) was founded in 1977 in response to government and industry's growing need for innovative environmental research, modeling, and consulting services. Now in its twentieth year, AER is an award-winning environmental research and consulting company with demonstrated expertise in remote sensing, satellite meteorology, numerical weather prediction, climatology, circulation diagnostics, atmospheric chemistry, air quality and risk assessment, mathematical modeling, and planetary sciences.

AER has developed a number of advanced computer models, analysis tools, and data bases designed for field operations and for diagnostic and prognostic studies of atmospheric dynamics, climate, composition, and radiation. The System Engineering Division provides meteorological data processing systems to major international airports, including projects in Hong Kong and Malaysia. In addition to its Massachusetts headquarters, AER has offices in Washington DC, San Francisco, Hong Kong, and Beijing.

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