May 11, 2023 view of a portion of the U.S. East Coast from the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-R Series. Credit: NOAA

SAN FRANCISCO – The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration awarded a contract to L3Harris Technologies to continue providing ground services for the current generation of geostationary weather satellites.

The indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity Geostationary Ground Sustainment Services contract has a maximum value of approximately $275.2 million. Under the contract announced May 11, L3Harris will handle communications with the NOAA’s Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites-R Series, data processing and information distribution. In addition, L3Harris will monitor satellite health and safety, while sending commands to the spacecraft and instruments onboard.

Series of Contracts

L3Harris has been the prime contractor and systems integrator for the GOES-R ground segment since 2009 when the company won a 10-year, $736 million NOAA contract. One year later, L3Harris won a $130 million NOAA contract to develop the GOES-R ground segment antenna. In 2019, NOAA awarded L3Harris a $284 million contract to modernize the GOES-R ground infrastructure.

Work under the latest NOAA contract, which runs through May 10, 2028, will be carried out through a series of task orders.

Ground Enterprise Architecture

NOAA’s National Environmental Satellite Data and Information Service is focused on leveraging technology to increase the capability while reducing the cost of ground systems. A recent study of ground system requirements determined that a more cost-effective ground architecture would be essential to enabling NOAA to expand the number of satellites and data sources it relies upon.

The Geostationary Ground Sustainment Services contract “will improve the ground system’s capabilities, reliability, and robustness; leverage technology advancements; and reduce life-cycle costs,” according to a May 11 NOAA news release. GOES-R satellites provide imagery and data on Earth’s weather, oceans and environment in addition to mapping the location of lightning and monitoring space weather.  Three NOAA GOES-R satellites are in orbit with a fourth scheduled to launch in 2024.

NASA builds and launches GOES-R satellites. NOAA operates the spacecraft and distributes satellite imagery and data to people around the world.  

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...