Suomi NPP

Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership

Primary operational weather sat

Suomi NPP provides continuity for NASA’s Earth Observing System (EOS) and is a bridge between NOAA’s legacy Polar Orbiting Environmental Satellites (POES) and the Joint Polar Satellite System-1 satellite, which Ball designed and built the satelltie bus, the Ozone Mapping rofiler Suite (OMPS) instrument, integrated all five-instruments, and performed satellite-level testing and launch support.  All under contract to NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. 

The National Weather Service uses Suomi NPP global measurements in its numerical weather prediction models. NPP’s advanced imagery of clouds, ocean surface, land features and other physical parameters is key data for civilian and DoD forecasters. Suomi NPP’s precise observations are improving the accuracy of global forecasts three to seven days in advance of significant weather events, including hurricanes and winter storms. 

Suomi NPP spacecraft bus
Suomi NPP spacecraft bus

What we did 

Spacecraft & instrument provider, integration & test lead

We designed and built the Suomi NPP satellite bus, the Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite instrument, integrated all five instruments, and performed satellite-level testing and launch support. The Suomi NPP spacecraft was built on a fixed-price contract with NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. 

The spacecraft launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base Oct. 28, 2011 and has since logged more than 12,000 orbits. Its sensors have surpassed expectations for low noise and accuracy, and have provided useful data to forecasters beginning well before it gained operational status. 

Suomi NPP data, in conjunction with other polar weather satellite data, were essential to predicting the path of 2012’s Hurricane Sandy more than four days in advance. In May 2014, NOAA’s Satellite and Information Service named Suomi NPP as its primary operational polar-orbiting satellite system for NOAA’s day-to-day operations. 

Suomi NPP carries five instruments, including:

  • The Visible/Infrared Imager Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) 
  • The Cross-track Infrared Sounder (CrIS) 
  • The Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder (ATMS) 
  • The Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite (OMPS) 
  • The Clouds and the Earth Radiant Energy System (CERES) 

An Interview with the Suomi NPP Program Manager

Suomi NPP program manager Scott Asbury explains how Ball developed the technology for the Suomi NPP spacecraft and the Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite instrument onboard.

  • click to play
    Suomi NPP PM Interview
  • click to play
    Suomi NPP Launch