News Release

NRL successfully completes first major development milestone on the NPOESS MIS program

Peer-Reviewed Publication

Naval Research Laboratory

WindSat Instrument

image: Similar to the WindSat instrument (shown here) built by NRL, the Microwave Imager/Sounder will produce microwave imagery along with a cadre of specialized meteorological and oceanographic products. WindSat currently flies aboard the General Dynamic’s built Coriolis spacecraft view more 

Credit: Naval Research Laboratory

NRL's Spacecraft Engineering Department and Remote Sensing Division announced it has successfully completed the System Requirements and Design Review (SRDR) for the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) Microwave Imager/Sounder (MIS) program. The MIS SRDR was the first major development milestone and was held in May 2009. The program sponsor, the NPOESS Integrated Program Office (IPO), has certified the SRDR to be a success. IPO's Independent Review Team (IRT) reported that "the NRL development team demonstrated outstanding microwave design experience and knowledge" and that it was "an outstanding review by the IPO and NRL team." NRL is now proceeding toward Preliminary Design Review (PDR), which is scheduled for spring of 2010.

"The approval to proceed to the design-build stage in preparation for the PDR is a major milestone for the MIS program," said John Schaub, superintendent, NRL Spacecraft Engineering Department. "Upon completion, this next generation sensor will deliver improved global microwave radiometry and sounding data, providing higher resolution microwave imagery and specialized meteorological and oceanographic products, including tropical cyclone structure."

The NPOESS tri-agency Integrated Program Office (IPO) competitively selected NRL in 2008 to build MIS because of its demonstrated experience and knowledge developing the first space-borne polarimetric microwave radiometer, WindSat, operating successfully since 2003 on the Coriolis mission.

The first MIS sensor is scheduled to fly aboard the second NPOESS spacecraft (C2) expected to launch in 2016.

NPOESS is a polar-orbiting satellite system used to monitor global environmental conditions, and collect and disseminate data related to Earth's weather, atmosphere, oceans, land, and near-space environment providing data for long-range weather and climate forecasts. In 1994, it was recognized that converging the existing polar systems from the DoC and DoD would result in a higher performance integrated system. NPOESS gathers those existing polar-orbiting satellite systems into a single national program.


The Naval Research Laboratory is the Department of the Navy's corporate laboratory. NRL conducts a broad program of scientific research, technology, and advanced development. The Laboratory, with a total complement of nearly 2,500 personnel, is located in southwest Washington, DC, with other major sites at the Stennis Space Center, MS; and Monterey, CA.

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