The ability to provide timely and accurate meteorological information about ocean systems, storms, and the effects of global tropical and polar weather patterns is enabled by the work of space-based microwave radiometers that detect microwave energy in the form of brightness temperatures from Earth's surface and atmosphere.
A team led by the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL)
is currently developing the next generation operational microwave radiometer, the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS
) Microwave Imager/Sounder (MIS
). The MIS will perform key measurements for NPOESS, including soil moisture and sea surface winds. Other environmental parameters include atmospheric temperature and moisture profiles, sea surface temperature, and integrated water vapor and precipitation measurements. The importance of MIS measurements to meteorology, weather forecasting, and climatology is demonstrated by the role of measurements from several MIS legacy sensors, including the Defense Meteorological Satellites Program (DMSP
) Special Sensor Microwave Imager (SSM/I
) and Imager/Sounder (SSMIS
), as well as the TRMM
Microwave Imager (TMI)
, the Earth Observing System (EOS
), the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer (AMSR-E)
, and the Satellite-based Vector Winds Measuring System (WindSat)
. The MIS design will build on the capabilities of these legacy sensors to ensure data continuity for operations. Improvements are planned for MIS in the areas of radio frequency interference mitigation techniques, sensor calibration, stability, channel selection, algorithm development, and cal/val. As a result, increased utility of sea surface wind vector, sea surface temperature, soil moisture, and atmospheric sounding measurements from MIS is anticipated.
The MIS development presents many technical challenges, particularly in the area of antenna characterization, sensor calibration, and signal and data processing. Under contract to the NRL, Praxis and its teammates are working to meet these challenges, to further the MIS design, to integrate it into the spacecraft systems, and to prepare for the final end-item production. Specific elements of our efforts include: structural engineering and modeling; design and thermal engineering; requirements tracking and management; the integration of project cost and schedule information via Earned Value Management (EVM) processes; and related technical documentation supporting the developmental processes.