The U.S. National Weather Service (NWS) awarded Hughes Network Systems a contract to provide a satellite-based backup to the agency’s Operational Systems Network, the communications system used to distribute and analyze weather information, the Germantown, Md.-based satellite broadband and ground systems provider said June 24.

Under the contract, financial terms of which were not disclosed, Hughes will provide an existing network of 63 very small aperture terminals, satellite bandwidth capable of delivery rates of 1.5 megabits per second, a dedicated IP gateway and support services.

“Hughes is honored to be selected by NWS for this mission-critical solution,” Tony Bardo, Hughes assistant vice president of government solutions, said in a prepared statement. “Only satellite technology offers a truly diverse, back-up network path — which is essential to ensure emergency communications and Continuity of Operations (COOP) when disaster strikes. Hughes looks forward to working with NWS to strengthen the robustness and availability of its important service to America.”