MRO Magazine

Japan Meteorological Agency releases video showing improved imagery from Exelis-built advanced weather satellite instrument

May 22, 2015
By Business Wire News


The Japan Meteorological Agency released comparative imagery taken by the advanced Exelis-built (NYSE: XLS) instrument on its Himawari-8 weather satellite that is clearer, more timely and more informative than its predecessor, the Multifunctional Transport (MTSAT-2) satellite.

The released images show the eye of Typhoon Maysak, yellow dust floating over the Yellow Sea, volcanic ash from an eruption of Japan’s Sakurajima volcano and on Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula, and sea ice in the Okhotsk Sea. Clouds, coastlines and snow on Mount Fuji are also sharper from the Himawari-8.

“The video and other pictures from the Himawari-8 show the versatility of the advanced weather imager and the significant improvement it will bring to weather forecasting and environmental monitoring in the region once it is fully operational,” said Eric Webster, Exelis Environmental Intelligence vice president and director. The images were captured in April by the Himawari-8, which launched in October of 2014. The advanced imager is an example of space-borne environmental intelligence gathering Exelis offers through its intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and analytics strategic platform.

The side-by-side comparison of Earth snapped from the same vantage point by the advanced imager and the MTSAT-2 demonstrates marked differences. The Himawari-8 imager captures full-Earth observations in color 10 minutes apart allowing for a more detailed look at cloud formation and movement. MTSAT-2’s observations are taken in an hour in monochrome with less detail. Exelis built the imager on the MTSAT-2, which launched nine years ago and is planned to remain operational through 2015.

In addition to improving short-term forecasting and severe weather tracking, the advanced imager will provide fire detection and characterization, air pollution analysis, volcanic ash monitoring and vegetation assessment. Clouds, sand, ice, volcanic ash and vegetation can all be difficult to distinguish with MTSAT-2.

“Having more detailed environmental intelligence from Himawari-8 will allow better weather and environmental decision-making,” Webster said.

Exelis is on contract to provide seven advanced imagers: four for the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA, two for Japan and one for South Korea.

About Exelis

Exelis is a diversified, top-tier global aerospace, defense, information and services company that leverages a greater than 50-year legacy of deep customer knowledge and technical expertise to deliver affordable, mission-critical solutions for global customers. Exelis is a leader in positioning and navigation, sensors, air traffic management solutions, image processing and distribution, communications and information systems; and focused on strategic growth in the areas of critical networks, ISR and analytics, electronic warfare and composite aerostructures. Headquartered in McLean, Virginia, Exelis employs approximately 10,000 people and generated 2014 sales of approximately $3.3 billion For more information, visit our website at or connect with us on TwitterFacebookLinkedIn and YouTube.

Kristin P. Jones
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