PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICE
JET PROPULSION LABORATORY
CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION
PASADENA, CALIF. 91109. TELEPHONE (818) 354-5011
Contact: Mary A. Hardin
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASENovember 25, 1997
NASA AWARDS ACRIMSAT CONTRACT TO ORBITAL SCIENCES CORP.
NASA has selected Orbital Sciences Corporation, Dulles, VA,
as the industry partner for the Active Cavity Radiometer
Irradiance Monitor (ACRIM) satellite (ACRIMSAT), a solar-
observing mission that is managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion
Laboratory, Pasadena, CA.
ACRIMSAT's is part of the Earth Observing System (EOS) and
will study the Sun and its impact on the Earth's climate as part
of a five-year mission. ACRIMSAT is set for launch in October
The $8.3 million contract to Orbital Sciences calls for the
company to design, build and test the ACRIMSAT satellite. Under
the contract, Orbital Science's responsibilities include the
integration of the JPL-supplied ACRIM instrument with the
satellite bus, environmental testing and supplying a redundant
ground station to JPL. The satellite will be based on Orbital's
flight-proven MiniStar satellite platform.
"ACRIMSAT will gather total solar irradiance on a daily
basis and data products will be provided by the science team to
NASA for use by the scientific community. I am pleased that JPL
and OSC, as partners, will be instrumental in extending the long-
term total solar irradiance data base through the next solar
maxima," said Ronald Zenone, the ACRIMSAT project manager at JPL.
Sunlight provides the energy for many of Earth's atmospheric
processes, but the Sun's radiant output fluctuates during an 11-
year cycle, from a maximum to a minimum and back again. There are
also short-term variations within that 11-year cycle of the 27-
day solar rotation period. Earth's atmosphere is influenced by
both cycles, which makes the total solar irradiance coming from
the Sun the primary driver of the Earth's climate.
JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology,
will manage the ACRIMSAT mission for NASA's Office of Mission to
Planet Earth, Washington, DC.