BAE Systems Wins $450M Contract to Develop Ocean-Color Instrument for NOAA

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Insider Brief:

  • BAE Systems has secured a $450 million contract to create an ocean-color instrument for NOAA’s next-generation geostationary weather satellites.
  • The Ocean Color Instrument (OCX) will provide updated data every three hours, offering a more comprehensive view of ocean and coastal ecosystems.
  • Under the contract, BAE Systems will handle the design, development, testing, and evaluation of the OCX instrument.

 

BAE Systems has secured a $450 million contract to create an ocean-color instrument for NOAA’s next-generation geostationary weather satellites. The contract tasks BAE Systems with developing two flight instruments for the Geostationary Extended Operations (GeoXO) program as announced by NOAA. The instruments will support 10 years of in-orbit operations and five years of in-orbit storage. The deal also includes options for additional instruments.

The GeoXO program is NOAA’s largest procurement initiative, with a budget of $19.6 billion approved last year. This budget covers six satellites, their operations, and support extending to 2052. GeoXO follows the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites – R Series program and aims to enhance NOAA’s ability to monitor ocean and coastal conditions.

The Ocean Color Instrument (OCX) will provide updated data every three hours, offering a more comprehensive view of ocean and coastal ecosystems. This data is vital for monitoring U.S. coastal waters, the Great Lakes, and the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone. The instrument will track various parameters, including water quality, ecosystem changes, seafood safety, and harmful algal blooms.

OCX data will support a broad range of users, from forecasters and marine resource managers to fisheries, health departments, and water treatment managers. It will also provide essential ocean and coastal health information to the commerce, recreation, and tourism industries.

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Under the contract, BAE Systems will handle the design, development, testing, and evaluation of the OCX instrument. They will also support the launch and provide ground support equipment and mission operations assistance at NOAA’s Satellite Operations Facility in Suitland, Maryland.

NOAA manages the GeoXO program and its operations, while NASA and commercial partners, including BAE Systems, develop and build the instruments and spacecraft. NASA selected BAE Systems to construct the OCX, reinforcing the partnership between NASA and NOAA in advancing geostationary weather satellite technology.

In addition to the OCX, BAE Systems is also developing the GeoXO air quality sensor under a separate $365 million contract announced earlier this month. This dual role highlights BAE Systems’ significant contribution to enhancing NOAA’s observational capabilities.

Image credit: NOAA

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