NASA has awarded three $8 million contracts to Ball Aerospace and Technologies, Boulder, Co., ITT Industries, Fort Wayne, Ind., and Raytheon Santa Barbara Remote Sensing, Goleta, Calif., for formulation phase work on an advanced imager for the next generation of geostationary weather satellites operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The new advanced sensor, called the Advanced Baseline Imager, will be the primary instrument on NOAA’s future Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites (GOES) beginning with the GOES-R mission which will be ready to fly in 2008. The ABI will provide the core data that the National Weather Service uses for routine weather forecasting and severe storm forecasting.

Under terms of the firm fixed price contracts, each company will develop detailed engineering plans for the future instrument. NASA is expected to select a company in 2003 to build the instrument.

The ABI is an advanced version of the current series of GOES Imagers but will have a greater number of channels, improved spatial resolution and faster Earth coverage rates to provide improved atmospheric temperature and moisture profiles.

GOES satellite requirements and funding are provided by NOAA, which distributes weather data for the United States and environs. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md., procures and manages the development of the GOES spacecraft for NOAA.

For more information on the GOES satellites, go to:

Weather imagery and atmospheric sounding information can be found at: