NASA to launch study of atmosphere-observing sensors for future polar-orbiting Earth observation satellite

May 22, 2023
Polar orbits place sensors and electronics in hazardous environments, which require radiation-hardened electronic components and other safeguards.

GREENBELT, Md. – U.S. space agency researchers are making plans to ask industry to study sensor payload alternatives for a future atmosphere-observing satellite that operates in a polar orbit around the Earth.

Officials of the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., issued a presolicitation last week (80GSFC23R0024) for the Atmosphere Observing System-Polar (AOS-P) Polarimeter Instrument Phase A Study.

The Polarimeter Phase A study will suggest potential sensors concepts to support future AOS-P missions, and how these concepts meet performance targets, maturity, and acceptable risks.

NASA-Goddard officials say they plan to issue a request for proposals for the Atmosphere Observing System - Polar (AOS-P) Polarimeter Instrument Phase A study around 1 June 2023, with proposals due by 30 June 2023. The Polarimeter Phase A Study is being procured as a component of the larger AOS Polarimeter Instrument procurement.

Related: Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS)

The study will assess instrument concepts; explore the feasibility of future sensor enhancements; possible development schedules and costs; and identify hardware, software, and risk mitigation.

Polar orbits place sensors and electronics in hazardous environments because of high radiation levels, which require radiation-hardened electronic components, as well as other safeguards to protect orbiting electronics from the harsh environment of polar orbit.

The study will tell NASA about the feasibility and risks of current Polarimeter requirements and design concepts, and help improve requirements for a potential Polarimeter Instrument solicitation.

More information about this upcoming solicitation is online at

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