NOAA Selects Harris Corporation to Develop GOES-R Ground Segment Antenna System

July 16, 2010

NOAA has selected Harris Corporation in Melbourne, Fla., to develop the antenna system that will support NOAA’s next generation geostationary satellite series, GOES-R. This new series of spacecraft, set to begin launching in 2015, is expected to double the clarity of today’s satellite imagery and provide at least 20 times more atmospheric observations.

The new antennas and ground system will allow forecasters to see detailed images of potentially deadly weather events including tornadoes and hurricanes every 30 seconds, instead of every 7.5 minutes, which the current system provides. NOAA’s National Weather Service is a key user of the information to provide forecasts and weather advisories.

“The faster NOAA forecasters receive satellite data, the quicker they can use the information to develop and issue warnings that save lives,” said Mary Kicza, assistant administrator for NOAA’s Satellite and Information Service. “The new antenna system will provide uninterrupted communication with the satellites to support our forecasters.”

The basic contract, which has an estimated value of $130,703,026, requires Harris to design, develop, test and implement the GOES-R antenna system. The antenna system includes the components and infrastructure needed to communicate with the GOES-R satellites to control the spacecraft and capture the telemetry and science data from the instruments.

The GOES-R antenna system will be developed and operated at NOAA’s Wallops Command and Data Acquisition Station in Wallops, Va., and at NOAA’s GOES-R Remote Backup facility in Fairmont, W.Va. The antenna system will be designed to ensure continuity of operations during severe weather and other threat scenarios including storms as severe as a Category 2 hurricane with winds ranging from 96-110 mph. Four existing receive-only antennas located at the NOAA Satellite Operations Facility in Suitland, Md., will also have their feed systems upgraded.

The antenna system will include six new, large-aperture antennas capable of receiving and transmitting radio signals in multiple frequencies. Four existing antennas will be upgraded and the entire antenna system will be integrated into the overall GOES-R Ground System by the Ground System contractor, Harris Corporation of Melbourne, Fla.

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

NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Visit us on Facebook.