PARIS – Ball Aerospace won a $486.9 million contract to deliver a sounder for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Geostationary Extended Observations satellite program.

Under the cost-plus-award-fee contract awarded by NASA announced Sept. 11, Ball will build and deliver one GeoXO sounder, integrate it with the next-generation NOAA weather satellite and provide support for the first flight instrument. The contract includes options for additional sounders.

“The anticipated period of performance for this contract includes support for 10 years of on-orbit operations and five years of on-orbit storage, for a total of 15 years for each flight instrument,” according to the NASA-NOAA news release.

Ball’s work will be performed at the company’s facility in Boulder, Colorado, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The GeoXO Sounder, known as GXS, is a hyperspectral infrared instrument designed to detect infrared light and provide “real-time information about the vertical distribution of atmospheric moisture, temperature, and winds over the Western Hemisphere,” according to the news release.

The National Weather Service expects GXS data to improve numerical weather prediction and short-term forecasts of convection and severe weather. GXS data also is likely to help the National Hurricane Center improve hurricane track and intensity forecasts.

The GeoXO program, the follow-on to the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites – R Series program, is expected to be gathering data in the early 2030s. NOAA selected L3Harris in March to provide the imager instrument for the satellites under a $765.5 million contract.

NOAA requested $417.4 million for GeoXO in its fiscal year 2024 budget proposal.

NOAA funds and manages the GeoXO program, operations and data products. NASA works with commercial partners to develop and build the instruments and spacecraft in addition to launching the satellites.

Debra Werner is a correspondent for SpaceNews based in San Francisco. Debra earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of California, Berkeley, and a master’s degree in Journalism from Northwestern University. She...