Friday, August 24, 2007

CU-Boulder to supply $92 million space weather instrument package to NOAA

Terra Daily: The University of Colorado at Boulder signed a contract today worth an estimated $92 million with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA to build a satellite instrument package to help forecast solar disturbances that affect communication and navigation operations in the United States. The instrument package, which will be designed and built at CU-Boulder's Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, is slated to launch on future generations of NOAA satellites known as the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites, or GOES-R.

Known as the Extreme Ultra Violet and X-Ray Irradiance Sensors, or EXIS, the LASP package will consist of an X-ray sensor to look at solar flares and an extreme UV sensor to monitor sunlight variation, both of which can disrupt communications and navigational accuracy of equipment and vehicles operating on land, sea and in the air and space.

A team of about 30 LASP researchers and engineers and about a half-dozen students led by principal investigator and LASP Research Associate Frank Eparvier will design and build the instruments at the LASP Space Technology Building in the CU Research Park. The LASP contract calls for the delivery of the first instrument package in 2012 and options for three additional instrument packages to be delivered over the subsequent decade following the launch of GOES-R in December of 2014, said Eparvier.

…The GOES satellite is responsible for measurements leading to fast, accurate weather forecasts, search-and-rescue beacon detection, and the measurement of space weather phenomena that directly affect public health and safety in the United States

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