NASA has awarded L3Harris Technologies as well as Raytheon Intelligence & Space deals to continue research on next-generation imagers for the┬áNational Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Geostationary and Extended Orbits (GEO-XO) satellites. The dual weather sensor leaders will collaborate to develop infrared as well as visible-imaging instruments for the NOAA satellites that will adopt the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite R (GOES-R) series under the one-year, firm-fixed-price deals worth around $6 million each.

NASA granted the deals on behalf of NOAA, which is responsible for financing, handling, and planning the satellites for launch. The current occupant is L3Harris. The Advanced Baseline Imagers for GOES-R are built by this firm in Fort Wayne, Indiana. L3Harris also produces Cross Track Infrared Sounders for Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS), Japan’s Advanced Himawari Imagers, as well as the Advanced Meteorological Instrument of South Korea.

Raytheon Intelligence & Space, headquartered located in El Segundo, California, presents a formidable adversary. The Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite for the NOAA’s Joint Polar Satellite System and the Missile Defense Agency’s two-satellite Space Tracking and Surveillance System are among Raytheon’s sensors for the low Earth as well as geostationary orbit.

“Having a close look at the GEO-XO, there are several interesting discriminators that we have learned through our different programs, like the value of being able to keenly look at the weather phenomenology and classify it at night,” Shawn Cochran, who serves as the senior business development manager in charge of Space & C2 Systems at the Raytheon Intelligence & Space, informed SpaceNews. “As a result, adding modern technologies including ocean colour and day/night capabilities to the next generation of the GOES would be critical.”

Meanwhile, L3Harris is working on a follow-up to the Advanced Baseline Imager. L3Harris vice president, as well as general manager in charge of the spectral solutions at the L3Harris Space and Airborne Systems, informed SpaceNews that ABI “has done really well in respect to the weather monitoring, especially when there are extreme storm events such as hurricanes or even tornado activity, items that require spatial resolution, temporal resolution, as well as speed.” “ABI has also shown several modern capabilities which have shown to be very effective: wildfire identification as well as the hot spot detection, as well as the origins of wildfires.”

NOAA seeks new platforms and better data compression via the GEO-XO platform to take full advantage of technical advances and enhance its capacity to offer timely and reliable weather, ocean, and environment data. Before NOAA goes on to retire, the GOES-R Series spacecraft, which is the first GEO-XO satellite, is scheduled to fly in the early 2030s.

By Adam

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