The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) intends to award a $2.7 million, sole-source contract to Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. to continue providing technical support for instruments it built for the nation’s polar-orbiting weather satellites, according to a March 4 posting on the Federal Business Opportunities Web site.

Boulder, Colo.-based Ball built the Solar Backscatter Ultraviolet Radiometer instruments that are operating on three of NOAA’s Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellites (POES). Because of delays to the next-generation National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System, which is now being dramatically restructured, it was necessary to make arrangements to extend the operational lives of the current POES satellites, the posting said.

Ball’s contract will be extended through February 2014, after which time the current POES satellites are not expected to be operating. In documents justifying the use of a sole-source contract, NOAA said the instrument “is a unique and complex system which was designed, developed, fabricated and tested by Ball. [Ball] is uniquely qualified to provide the required effort for any anomaly investigations in real time without any learning curve or delay.”