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NOAA, NASA Select Contractor to Build GOES-R Series Satellite

New Geostationary Satellites Will Give Forecasters Better Information

May 7, 2009

GOES-R satellite.

GOES-R Satellite.

High resolution (Credit: Lockheed Martin)

NOAA and NASA officials announced Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co. has been selected to build two satellites for NOAA’s next generation geostationary satellite series, GOES-R. The new series, poised to begin launching in 2015, will double the clarity of today’s satellite imagery and provide more than 20 times the information.

A previous contract award was re-evaluated by NASA and, as a result of that process, a series of corrective actions were implemented. Following that re-evaluation Lockheed Martin Space Systems was selected as the contractor. The basic contract is for two satellites with options for two additional satellites. The total estimated value of the basic contract, including the options, is $1.09 billion. Officials said a separate contract to build the GOES-R ground system will be announced later this year.

“GOES-R will be a dramatic improvement compared to what we’re using today — both in terms of better imagery and better data these satellites will offer,” said Jane Lubchenco, PhD, under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “The American public will see real, life-saving benefits from this advanced satellite system that will give forecasters better and more detailed information.”

GOES-R will improve the monitoring of sea-surface temperatures and provide more data to NOAA’s hurricane forecasters, giving them sharper images of storms every 30 seconds, instead of every 7.5 minutes which the current geostationary satellites provide.

“The GOES-R program is well positioned for success and is being managed through a strong, productive partnership with NASA,” said Mary Kizca, assistant administrator for NOAA’s Satellite and Information Service.

George Morrow, director of Flight Project for NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., said: “NASA Goddard is excited to be NOAA’s partner in this next generation GOES development. We look forward to delivering an outstanding observatory for their operational use.”

GOES-R will feature the first-ever, space-based detection system for lightning activity over land and water. The new satellites also are expected to bring other key benefits, including data that will improve warnings for heat stress and bolster forecasts for unhealthy air quality, and advanced solar-monitoring instruments for space weather forecasts and warnings of solar storms.

NOAA funds, manages and will operate the GOES-R program. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center oversees the acquisition of the GOES-R spacecraft and instruments for NOAA.

NOAA understands and predicts changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and conserves and manages our coastal and marine resources.