The National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS), scheduled for launch late in this decade, will converge existing civilian and defense polar-orbiting weather satellite systems into one national program. These polar-orbiting satellites are used to collect information on Earth's atmosphere, oceans and land for research and operational purposes such as weather forecasting. To enable initial validation of NPOESS instruments and to provide data continuity between the existing Earth Observing System weather satellites and NPOESS, a prototype NPOESS system will be developed and launched. This program is called the NPOESS Preparatory Project (NPP) and is managed by the tri-agency Integrated Program Office (IPO) utilizing personnel from the Department of Commerce (NOAA), Department of Defense and NASA.
SSEC will take part in NPP by supporting testing and validation of the Cross-track Infrared Sounder (CrIS), one of the NPOESS instruments. SSEC will work on assessing, optimizing and improving the overall calibration accuracy of the CrIS instrument, as well as developing a detailed understanding of the instrument and its characteristics. This effort is critical for collecting a long-term climate record of Earth's atmosphere, and will help scientists to continue studying and improving our understanding of the Earth's climate.
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