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NASA selects ITT to develop critical sensors to measure CO2 from air and space


Sensors to provide detailed data on how carbon dioxide is emitted and absorbed

PARIS. — ITT Corporation (NYSE:ITT) today announced that it was chosen by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (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.

“We are extremely pleased NASA chose us to help develop this crucial mission. Increasing amounts of CO2 and its effect on the Earth has become an important topic for policy makers. Our ASCENDS technology now puts ITT front and center in efforts to monitor and measure carbon dioxide,” said Rob Mitrevski, vice president and director for Commercial & Space Sciences at ITT’s Space Systems business.

ITT was awarded an initial Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract for ASCENDS Mission Support for a period of five years with a total value of $7 million. According to NASA, the sole source award went to ITT because its multifunctional fiber laser light detection and ranging (LIDAR) technology was the only instrument that has demonstrated the capability of meeting the key science measurement requirement for ASCENDS.

ITT’s technology has matured during the last eight years through internal investment and more than 40 flight campaigns. It is capable of research missions on satellites, as well as manned and unmanned aircraft, and its key components – including the lasers – are space-qualified.

While there are other technologies capable of measuring CO2 from space, namely NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory mission, which did not reach orbit earlier this year, and the Japanese Greenhouse Gases Observing Satellite mission, currently in space, ASCENDS will be the only one capable of measuring CO2 day or night, through clouds and at all latitudes. The breadth of the ASCENDS measurements will be key to any CO2 regulations, cap and trade system, and international treaty verification.

“As Congress and the Administration debate CO2 regulations, and the U.S. prepares to meet this December to negotiate an international agreement to reduce emissions, ITT’s technology will be critical in helping to ensure that companies in the U.S. and around the world comply with CO2 emissions standards,” noted Mitrevski.

This summer, a team of ITT scientists and engineers will be deployed to Virginia, Oklahoma and Wisconsin, along with a team of NASA scientists and aircraft operations personnel. Collectively, these teams will conduct a series of flights to demonstrate the ability to identify sources and sinks of CO2.

ITT’s Space Systems business ( provides innovative remote sensing and positioning, navigation and timing (PNT) solutions to customers in the Department of Defense, NASA, NOAA National Weather Service, intelligence, space science and commercial aerospace to help them visualize and understand critical events happening on Earth, in the air, or in space in time to take effective action. Leveraging comprehensive capabilities, ITT’s solutions span from image and data collection through processing and dissemination. Key applications include high-resolution commercial imaging; space science; climate and environmental monitoring; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; positioning, navigation and timing; image and data processing and dissemination; and space control and missile defense.


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