Thursday, July 13, 2023

NASA prepares draft contract proposal for new GeoXO weather satellites

NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), in Greenbelt, MD, plans to issue a draft Request for Proposal (RFP) next month that will kick off an effort to replace current weather satellites in orbit operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

NOAA operates a constellation of geostationary environmental satellites that help to protect life and property across the Western Hemisphere. The new Geostationary Extended Observations (GeoXO) program is the follow-on to the current Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites–R (GOES-R) Series program.

NASA announced plans to issue the GeoXO draft RFP in a pre-solicitation document released Wednesday.

“The GeoXO Program is procuring spacecraft for the GeoXO series that includes three satellites operating in geostationary orbit at an east, west, and center location,” NASA said in the pre-solicitation notice. “The GeoXO spacecraft will support three instruments each. The east and west spacecraft will be referred to as GeoI and will support an Imager Instrument, Lightning Mapper Instrument, and Ocean Color Instrument.”

NASA has already selected L3Harris Technologies, Inc., of Fort Wayne, Ind., to develop the imager for the GeoXO satellite program.

The imager contract alone is valued at approximately $765.5 million. It includes the development of two flight instruments as well as options for additional units.

The instrument will provide real-time, high-resolution visible and infrared imagery for monitoring the Western Hemisphere’s weather, ocean, and environment.

A third GeoXO center spacecraft in orbit will be referred to as GeoS and will support a Sounder Instrument, Atmospheric Composition Instrument, and Partner Payload.

The east and west spacecraft will also support an auxiliary communication payload for the NOAA Data Collection System supporting relay, dissemination, and commanding.

The draft RFP to be released next month will include the base contract and all options, which will consist of a total of seven spacecraft. There are launches planned for the first six spacecraft and the seventh spacecraft designated as an upscope with no current launch date.

“It is anticipated that this competitive procurement will result in a Cost-Plus-Award-Fee hardware contract for the development of three spacecraft, and four options, three for additional spacecraft and an upscope option for a fourth spacecraft with no current launch date,” NASA said.

The anticipated period of performance for this contract includes support for 10 years of on-orbit operations and five years of on-orbit storage, for a total of 15 years for each spacecraft. The anticipated contract award date is late May 2024.

The anticipated release of the Draft RFP is in early to mid-August, and the anticipated release of the Final RFP is in late September to early October, NASA officials said.

In July 2022, NASA selected Lockheed Martin Space and Maxar Space LLC to perform a GeoXO Spacecraft Phase A Study. The purpose of the contracts was to help define the spacecraft’s potential performance, risks, costs, and development leading up to implementation.

The current GEOS-R satellites in Earth orbit were manufactured by Lockheed Martin.

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