Lockheed Martin Wins Major Contract for Next-Generation U.S. Weather Satellites

Lockheed Martin has secured a pivotal contract to develop and construct the upcoming generation of U.S. geostationary weather satellites for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The announcement, made on June 18, underscores the critical advancements and strategic importance of this new satellite series.

Significant Contract Details

Awarded by NASA on behalf of NOAA, the contract entails the development of three Geostationary Extended Observations (GeoXO) satellites, with provisions for four additional spacecraft. If all options are exercised, the total value of the contract could reach an estimated $2.27 billion. This agreement marks a substantial investment in enhancing the nation’s weather forecasting capabilities and technological infrastructure.

Legacy and Future Innovation

Lockheed Martin has a strong legacy in weather satellite technology, having developed the current Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite R series (GOES-R). The fourth and final satellite in this series, GOES-U, is set for launch on June 25, 2024, from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Kyle Griffin, Vice President and General Manager of Lockheed Martin Commercial Civil Space, expressed the team’s enthusiasm and readiness to advance this critical national capability. “Our GeoXO design draws heavily from what we’ve learned with GOES-R spacecraft over the last 15 years, while incorporating new, digital technologies not only onboard the vehicles but in the design and development of this powerful, weather-monitoring platform of the future,” Griffin stated.

Enhanced Capabilities

The GeoXO satellites are designed to build upon and significantly enhance the capabilities of their predecessors. In addition to superior visible and infrared imagery and advanced lightning mapping, these new satellites will feature enhanced nighttime imagery and hyperspectral sounding. They will also provide extensive data on ocean and atmospheric conditions, which is expected to greatly improve weather and air quality forecasts.

Future Launch and Operations

The first GeoXO satellite is anticipated to launch in the early 2030s, with the entire constellation expected to remain operational through the late 2050s. These satellites will be based on Lockheed Martin’s modernized LM2100 satellite bus, a testament to the company’s ongoing innovation and commitment to advancing space technology.

This contract represents a significant milestone for Lockheed Martin and NOAA, promising to deliver advanced weather monitoring capabilities that will benefit not only the United States but also global weather forecasting and environmental monitoring efforts. With the integration of cutting-edge technology and the legacy of past successes, the GeoXO satellites are poised to play a crucial role in the future of meteorological science and public safety.

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