The contracts were officially awarded by NASA on behalf of the NOAA to meet the objectives of the GeoXO programme. The total value of each of the ten-month fixed-price contracts is approximately $5 million.
“The principal purpose of these contracts is to provide a definition-phase study of a GeoXO spacecraft. The selected firms will develop the spacecraft concept, mature necessary technologies, and help define the spacecraft’s potential performance, risks, costs, and development schedule.”
“The results of the study will be used to set performance requirements for the spacecraft implementation contract, which is planned for award in 2024.”
NOAA operates a constellation of geostationary environmental satellites and the GeoXO Program is a follow-on to the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites – R (GOES-R) Series Program.
According to the environmental body, the GeoXO satellites will improve available imagery, continue lightning mapping observations (pictured above), and introduce new technologies, including hyperspectral infrared sounding, ocean colour, and atmospheric composition instruments.
NOAA says it is planning a three-satellite GeoXO operational constellation (right).
Spacecraft in the current GOES-East and GOES-West positions will carry an imager, lightning mapper, and ocean colour instrument, and the centrally-located satellite will carry a sounder and atmospheric composition instrument.
The constellation can also accommodate a partner payload on the spacecraft flying in the central location, it says.
The Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM) that flies on NOAA’s GOES-R series satellites was built by Lockheed Martin. It detects about 1 million lightning flashes every day across the western hemisphere, says the company.
The system takes hundreds of images every second at a specific wavelength of light with filters that cast out nearly all solar glare and it involves algorithms that integrate all the data.
“We’re thrilled at this opportunity to take all we’ve learned – through developing remote imaging capabilities for NOAA’s current lightning mapper and the agency’s GOES-R satellite series – and infuse new technology to build a powerful, weather-monitoring platform of the future,” said Adrián Cuadra, Lockheed Martin’s weather programs director.
“We’ve continued to advance this technology, which will help provide more timely forecasts and snapshots of our environment to enable decision-making that makes our world a better place for upcoming generations.”
Image: NOAA – The instrument Lockheed Martin will study provides an enhanced look at lightning from Orbit.
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