The work, part of the service's Weather Satellite Follow-On Program, will be conducted over a 12-month period and is worth $13 million.
"Our sensor design will provide the Air Force and the warfighter with better weather information, especially regarding clouds, which is critical to mission planning," said Eric Webster, ITT Exelis vice president of Weather Systems. "Our goal is to do it at a much more affordable price and at a much lower risk than normal satellite procurements.
"At the end of the study, we will have a definitive cost and schedule to build the flight hardware."
ITT Exelis said the study will solidify the design for the imaging sensor and "ensure the instrument can be flown on multiple satellite platforms."
The ITT Exelis electro-optical/infrared environmental sensor will feature more channels and enhanced electronics at a lower cost than current imaging sensors.