The Suomi NPP space segment is comprised of six elements. The spacecraft, the five instrument/sensor payloads, and the associated ground support equipment and simulators.
The spacecraft is a member of the Ball Configurable Platform (BCP) family of spacecraft designed for cost-effective, remote sensing applications. Its proven design accommodates a wide range of payloads, including optical applications with sub-meter resolutions and synthetic aperture radar. The NPP spacecraft bus is the eighth of 11 spacecraft built by Ball Aerospace on the same BCP 2000 core architecture. In all, this architecture has more than 50 years of successful on-orbit operations. The BCP 2000 was designed to accommodate a wide variety of Earth-observing payloads that require precision pointing control, flexible high-data throughput and downlinks, and controlled re-entry. The NPP spacecraft incorporates both MIL-STD-1553 and IEEE 1394 (FireWire) data networks to support the payload suite. The spacecraft has a 7-year design life, with a five-year 5-year mission life.
Ball Aerospace designed and built the spacecraft bus, under contract to Goddard Space Flight Center, and was responsible for integrating the instruments and for performing satellite-level testing and launch support.
The five instruments manifested for flight on the Suomi NPP spacecraft trace their heritage to instruments on NASA's Terra, Aqua and Aura missions, on NOAA's Polar Operational Environmental Satellite (POES) spacecraft, and on DOD's Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP).
The spacecraft directly transmits stored mission sensor data to a receiving station in Svalbard, Norway, and will also provide continuous direct broadcast of real-time sensor data. The mission data will be routed on communications networks from Svalbard to the continental United States.The five instruments on the NPP satellite are: