Ball Aerospace and L3Harris win weather instrument study contracts

SAN FRANCISCO – The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration awarded contracts to Ball Aerospace & Technologies and L3Harris Technologies to study instruments for Geostationary and Extended Observations (GeoXO), the agency’s next generation of geostationary satellites.

The 20-month, firm-fixed-price contracts are valued at approximately $8 million apiece.

Under the contracts announced Oct. 1, Ball Aerospace and L3Harris will conduct definition Phase A studies of geostationary sounders to inform NOAA’s campaign to select the hyperspectral infrared instrument for the GeoXO constellation.

NASA and NOAA are working together on the GeoXO mission. While NOAA will provide funding, management and operations, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, is managing the acquisition of the Phase A contracts.

In addition to monitoring weather, NOAA’s GeoXO constellation, scheduled to begin launching in 2032, will be responsible for monitoring coastal ocean conditions and air quality. NOAA’s preliminary plan for the GeoXO constellation calls for satellites over the Eastern and Western United States like the current GOES-R series plus a satellite over the center of the United States.

Ball built the NASA-NOAA Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership satellite, launched in 2011, and the first Joint Polar Satellite System spacecraft launched in 2017. Ball is manufacturing the Weather System Follow-On satellite for the U.S. Space Force. In addition, Ball won a contract in 2020 to build, integrate and operate NOAA’s Space Weather Follow On satellite destined for Sun-Earth Lagrange Point 1.

L3Harris supplies the Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI) for NOAA Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite R series, the Cross Track Infrared Sounder for NOAA’s Joint Polar Satellite System, Japan’s Advanced Himawari Imagers and South Korea’s Advanced Meteorological Instrument.

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