Spacecraft and Instruments

    NOAA-N's instruments provide quantitative measurements on several atmospheric and surface parameters. This information is used for input to global atmospheric and surface forecast models. This continuous overlapping source of satellite data has provided the foundation for extensive climate and research programs.

    The spacecraft carries the following instruments: an Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR/3), a High Resolution Infrared Radiation Sounder (HIRS/3), an Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit-A (AMSU-A), a Microwave Humidity Sounder (MHS), a Solar Backscatter Ultraviolet Radiometer (SBUV/2), a Space Environment Monitor (SEM-2), a Data Collection System (DCS/2), a Search and Rescue Repeater and Sounder (SARR and SARP), and a Digital Data Recorder (DDR).

    NOAA-N, the AVVHR, HIRS, AMSU-A, MHS, and SBUV instruments.

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    Image at Right: NOAA-N's instruments provide quantitative measurements on several atmospheric and surface parameters.
    Credit: NASA/GSFC

    The AVHRR/3 is a six channel imaging radiometer that detects energy in the visible IR portions of the electromagnetic spectrum. It measures reflected solar (visible and near-IR) energy and radiated thermal energy from land, sea, clouds, and the intervening atmosphere.

    The HIRS/4 is an atmospheric sounding instrument that provides multispectral data from one visible channel, seven shortwave channels, and twelve longwave channels using a single telescope and a rotating filter wheel containing twenty individual spectral filters.

    The AMSU-A is a cross-track scanning total power radiometer, which is divided into two physically separate modules that interface with the spacecraft independently. The AMSU-A measures scene radiance in the microwave spectrum. The data from this instrument is used in conjunction with the HIRS and provides precipitation and surface measurements including snow cover, sea ice concentration, and soil moisture.

    The MHS is a new instrument for the NOAA series of satellites. It is a five-channel microwave instrument intended primarily to measure profiles of atmospheric humidity. Additionally, it measures cloud liquid water content and provides qualitative estimates of the precipitation rate.

    The SBUV/2 is a nadir-pointing, nonspatial, spectrally scanning, ultraviolet radiometer carried in two modules - the Sensor Module and the Electronics Module. This instrument measures solar irradiance and Earth radiance (backscattered solar energy) in the near ultraviolet spectrum.

    Delta II 7320-10 Space Launch Vehicle
    The Delta II Launch Vehicle
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    NOAA-N will be launched aboard a two-stage Boeing Delta II 7320-10 space launch vehicle.

    Image at Left: This illustration shows components of the Boeing Delta II 7320-10 space launch vehicle.
    Credit: The Boeing Company