On behalf of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), NASA has selected two firms for the Geostationary Extended Observations (GeoXO) Ocean Color (OCX) instrument Phase A Study. These contracted firms will help meet the objectives of NOAA’s GeoXO Program. 

The firms selected are Ball Aerospace of Boulder, Colorado and Raytheon Intelligence & Space, El Segundo, California. The total value of each of these twenty-month firm-fixed-price contracts is approximately $5.2 million. The work will be performed at the contractors’ facilities.

The principal purpose of these contracts is to provide a definition-phase study of a GeoXO OCX instrument, a hyperspectral, ultraviolet through near-infrared, passive imaging radiometer used to measure critical environmental data. OCX will provide up to hourly observations of ocean biology, chemistry, and ecology to assess ocean productivity, ecosystem change, coastal and inland water quality, seafood safety, and hazards like harmful algal blooms. High-resolution OCX observations will be an improvement over those offered by contemporary low-Earth orbiting ocean color sensors. From its position in geostationary orbit, OCX will view ocean and coastal conditions in real time and greatly improve the chance of cloud-free observations of areas of interest. The instrument will also track and assist in the response to climate-driven ocean and coastal ecosystem changes. These observations will support ecological forecasters, marine resource managers, fisheries, health departments, water treatment managers, and the commerce, recreation and tourism industries. 

The OCX instrument is planned to fly on the NOAA GeoXO series of geostationary satellites. The selected firms will develop the instrument concept, mature necessary technologies, and help define the instrument’s potential performance, risks, costs, and development schedule. The results of the study will be used to set performance requirements for the OCX instrument implementation contract, which is planned for award in 2024.

NOAA’s GeoXO satellite system is the groundbreaking mission that will advance Earth observations from geostationary orbit. The mission will supply vital information to address major environmental challenges of the future in support of weather, ocean, and climate operations in the United States. The GeoXO mission will continue and expand observations provided by the GOES-R series of satellites. GeoXO will bring new capabilities to address emerging environmental issues and challenges that threaten the security and well-being of every American. NOAA is working to ensure these critical observations are in place by the early 2030s, when the GOES-R Series nears the end of its operational lifetime. 

The GeoXO mission is a collaborative partnership between NOAA and NASA. NOAA funds, operates, and manages the mission and NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, manages the acquisition of the Phase A Formulation contracts. 

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