Home >> December 2009 Edition >> ITT Space Systems Division — YEAR IN REVIEW
ITT Space Systems Division — YEAR IN REVIEW

Young + ITT logo ITT Space Systems Division, headquartered in Rochester, New York, provides innovative remote sensing and GPS navigation solutions. For more than 50 years, we have helped our customers visualize and understand critical events happening on Earth, in the air, or in space in time to take effective action.

ITT Space Systems’ solutions span from image and data collection through processing and dissemination. Key applications include intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; high-resolution commercial imaging; Earth and space science; climate and environmental monitoring; GPS navigation solutions; image and data processing and dissemination; and space control and missile defense. ITT was involved with the first commercial imaging systems and continues to lead the way today with systems flying on WorldView-1 and -2, and GeoEye-1 high resolution commercial remote satellites. These systems are producing the most advanced imaging available for use by government and commercial enterprises like Google Earth. In addition to the planned GeoEye-2 satellite, this advanced, proven technology is scalable to offer warfighters a future constellation of operationally responsive, smaller and very affordable, tactical imaging satellites.

This year also marked the launch of the GPS IIR-21(M), the last in a series of eight modernized GPS IIR satellites, providing precise three-dimensional position, time, and velocity information. Building on the successful IIR-M series, ITT is developing next-generation GPS III technology, with a first launch scheduled for 2014. Increased power to resist jamming and faster clock update rates will help ensure mission success on the battlefield. Moreover, enhanced GPS performance is becoming increasingly important for civil applications, such as the FAA’s Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast satellite-based air traffic control system, whose ground implementation was awarded to ITT in 2007. The company is also working on GPS next generation ground control segment (OCX) opportunities.

In meteorological payloads, 2009 saw the launch of the NOAA-N Prime weather satellite, featuring three sounding instruments; among them is ITT’s High Resolution Infrared Radiation Sounder (HIRS/4). The HIRS/4 is used to obtain measurements determining ocean surface temperatures, total atmospheric ozone levels, cloud height and coverage, and surface radiance. The satellite also boasts two radiometers including ITT’s Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR/3), recognized as the operational imager for global weather data. The AVHRR/3 is a six multi-spectral channel radiometer, up from a four-channel in its original form. The additional channels have contributed to improvements in performance and operational capabilities, as well as improved spectral performance such as low light energy detection, snow/ice discrimination and global vegetation index.

Midyear, ITT announced it has successfully completed building the prototype model of the Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI) for the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-R (GOES-R) program, a major milestone as the GOES-R program progresses toward an expected launch in 2015. The ABI instrument represents the first significant increase in technology and capability for the GOES satellites since 1994. ABI will monitor three times the number of atmospheric conditions currently measured and will provide enhanced images down to 0.5 kilometers. ABI can also make its severe weather data and images available to forecasters every 30 seconds rather than the current rate of 7.5 minutes and full Earth images in five minutes rather than the current rate of 30 minutes. Another major improvement will allow NOAA for the first time to zoom in to track a specific storm while still collecting data and images from across the country. These advancements will provide more accurate and localized forecasts, thereby improving predictions of a storm’s development, path and intensity, saving lives in the process.

For more than 40 years, ITT has supplied multi-spectral imagers and sounders to the nation’s civil and military weather forecasting services. ITT systems are deployed as operational assets, providing 24/7 coverage from geostationary and low earth orbit. This heritage makes ITT uniquely positioned to help meet the growing need for even more advanced climate and environmental monitoring solutions. ITT was selected by NASA to help design, develop, and test a set of instruments to measure carbon dioxide (CO2) from air and space in support of NASA’s Active Sensing of CO2 Emissions over Nights, Days and Season (ASCENDS) mission, which is expected to launch in 2015. In a 2007 survey by the National Academy of Sciences, ASCENDS was identified as being crucial to quantifying global distributions of land and ocean sources and sinks of CO2, which provides the scientific basis for future projections of carbon dioxide in climate models.

In space science, ITT celebrated the tenth anniversary of the launch of the Chandra X-Ray Observatory, designed to detect X-ray emission from very hot regions of the universe such as exploded stars, clusters of galaxies, and matter around black holes. ITT was contracted to build the X-ray telescope for the satellite that consisted of a High Resolution Mirror Assembly (HRMA) and an Optical Bench Assembly (OBA). The HRMA consisted of four mirror sets that were co-aligned to produce a telescope showing 50 times more detail than any previous X-ray telescope. The OBA, which supports the two-ton HRMA at the fore end, remains the largest composite structure ever flown by NASA.

Looking ahead, ITT continues work on the James Webb Space Telescope, scheduled for launch in 2014. The company is responsible for integrating components made by various team members to form the optical telescope element, as well as subsequent cryogenic testing of the telescope and Science Instrument Module. ITT delivered the mounted Focal Plane Assembly on the Near-Infrared Spectrograph detector to measure the redshift, metallicity and star information rate in first light galaxies. In addition to superior image and data collection capabilities, ITT Space Systems Division provides solutions that help analysts process and disseminate images and data quicker than ever before and often through constrained bandwidths. In 2009, ITT announced its Image Access Solutions (IAS) was transmitting detailed satellite imagery to ships in the Arctic Ocean to help them study and/or avoid ice in near real time. This year also marked the launch of ENVI 4.7 and ENVI EX for the geographic information systems (GIS) professionals by ITT Visual Information Solutions. These latest versions of ENVI combine powerful analysis tools and seamless integration with ESRI’s leading GIS platform, ArcGIS, to streamline workflows and allow users to easily extract important information from imagery.