Lockheed Martin render of NOAA's next-generation Geostationary Extended Observations weather satellite constellation.

SAN FRANCISCO — Lockheed Martin will develop and build the next generation of U.S. geostationary weather satellites for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration under a contract announced June 18.

The contract, awarded by NASA on behalf of NOAA, covers three Geostationary Extended Observations (GeoXO) satellites and options for four additional spacecraft. With options, the estimated value of the contract is $2.27 billion.

Lockheed Martin also built the current Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite R series. The fourth and final satellite in the series, GOES-U, is scheduled to launch June 25, 2024 from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, Florida.

“Our team is excited and ready to move forward to design and field this critical national capability,” Kyle Griffin, Lockheed Martin Commercial Civil Space vice president and general manager, said in a statement. “Our GeoXO design draws heavily from what we’ve learned with GOES-R spacecraft over the last 15 years, while incorporating new, digital technologies not only onboard the vehicles but in the design and development of this powerful, weather-monitoring platform of the future.”

In addition to improving upon GOES-R’s visible and infrared imagery and lightning mapping capabilities, GeoXO satellites will provide nighttime imagery, hyperspectral sounding and extensive information on ocean and atmospheric conditions. Those observations are expected to improve weather and air quality forecasts.

The first GeoXO satellite is scheduled to launch in the early 2030s. The constellation is expected to operate through the late 2050s

The new GeoXO spacecraft will be based on Lockheed Martin’s modernized LM2100 satellite bus.

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...