NOAA announced today its acquisition management strategy for the upcoming Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-R (GOES-R) Program. NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

NOAA will be responsible for the GOES-R mission and will partner with NASA to achieve mission objectives. NASA, at the Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) in Greenbelt, Md., will be responsible for supervising the GOES-R flight project, including the development of the command and control system, supporting advanced technology developments for instruments and spacecraft subsystems on GOES-R and future NOAA geostationary programs. NASA will place greater emphasis on research and development activities, providing a basis for NOAA’s operational investments in geostationary orbit in the future. The GSFC is the project implementation center.

“With recent advances in space-based observing technology, we are pushing beyond weather and turning the GOES-R platform into a more encompassing environmental observational satellite that will benefit multiple sectors of the economy,” said retired Navy Vice Admiral Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Jr., Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “Each GOES-R series satellite will bring greater capabilities, and will be a key contribution to the emerging Global Earth Observing System of Systems.”

The GOES-R Program is a series of satellites with sophisticated sensors, which will make major contributions in understanding weather and other environmental processes in the United States and around the world. In addition to advanced earth imaging and atmospheric sensors, new coastal imaging, lightning mapping, and solar imaging capabilities will be included on the GOES-R platform. This program is building on the incredibly successful GOES series of satellites, which NOAA has managed since the late 1960s. NASA built these satellites under contract for NOAA. Today, the GOES spacecraft continuously observe 40 percent of the Earth, including the continental United States. They provide weather monitoring, forecast operations and a continuous and reliable stream of environmental information and severe weather warnings.

“NOAA and NASA have worked closely to build a highly effective management approach that demonstrates commitment to accountability and best practices, while leveraging our collective experiences over the years as stewards of Earth observations,” Lautenbacher noted.

The NOAA GOES-R satellites will serve the nation’s needs in 2012 and beyond, improving upon today’s services, which include the weather images seen on the nightly news. GOES-R will become the severe weather sentinel, providing for coastal, oceanic, lightning and solar observations critical to providing information on impending storms, healthy coasts and oceans and solar forecasting.

Completion of GOES-R is projected to be the largest-ever single acquisition contract awarded by NOAA, exceeding $4 billion. Before that contract is awarded, up to three others, valued at $30 million each — for work during the preliminary design and risk reduction phase — will go to vendors this fall.

NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of our nation’s coastal and marine resources.

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