SMC Awards $309 Million Contracts for Rapid Weather Prototyping Efforts

EWS Notional Distributed Architecture (Credit: SMC EWS Program)

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (SMC PR) — The Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) has awarded three Other Transaction Authority agreements, totaling $309 million, to develop prototypes for the Electro Optical/Infrared (EO/IR) Weather System (EWS) program. The awardees, each a member of the Space Enterprise Consortium (SpEC), are:  

  • Raytheon Technologies
  • General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems Group (subcontractors: EO Vista/Atmospheric & Environmental Research (AER)/Braxton Technologies)
  • Atmospheric & Space Technology Research Associates (ASTRA) (subcontractors: Tyvak/Science & Technologies Corps (STC)/AER/Lockheed Martin)
(more…)

Final JPSS-2 Satellite Instrument Passes Readiness Test

Cross-Track Infrared Sounder instrument built to fly on the Joint Polar Satellite System 2 spacecraft. (Credit: NASA)

By Jenny Marder
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

GREENBELT, Md. (NASA PR) — The Cross-Track Infrared Sounder (CrIS) instrument built to fly on the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS)-2 satellite is ready to ship to the spacecraft. CrIS has passed all of its readiness tests, completing its pre-ship review.

(more…)

NOAA Awards Space Weather Follow-On Lagrange 1 Magnetometer to Southwest Research Institute

SILVER SPRING, Md. (NOAA PR) — NOAA has awarded the Space Weather Follow-On Lagrange 1 (SWFO-L1) Magnetometer contract to Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) based in San Antonio.

NOAA has awarded the Space Weather Follow-On Lagrange 1 (SWFO-L1) Magnetometer contract to Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) based in San Antonio, Texas through its procurement agent and acquisition partner, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

This is a cost-plus, fixed-fee contract with a total value of $12,862,664. The period of performance is 75 months.

(more…)

Earth Day at 50: Our Planet from Polar Orbit

First complete view of the world’s weather, photographed by TIROS-IX, in 1965. This image was assembled from 450 individual photos from the satellite. (Credit: NOAA)

SILVER SPRING, Md. (NOAA PR) — As Earth Day celebrates its golden anniversary in 2020, NOAA too is celebrating 50 years of monitoring the Earth’s weather, climate, and environment—and taking steps to preserve them.

As Earth Day celebrates its golden anniversary in 2020, NOAA too is celebrating 50 years of monitoring the Earth’s weather, climate, and environment—and taking steps to preserve them. 

(more…)

NOAA Announces First Series of Awards for Future Observation Technology

SILVER SPRING, Md. (NOAA PR) — NOAA’s Satellite and Information Service (NESDIS) announced the first in a series of contract awards to develop mission, spacecraft and instrument concepts for future Earth observation capabilities.

The new concepts NESDIS is considering in this initial round are atmospheric temperature and pressure sounding observations in low earth orbit (LEO) and broader mission approaches for geostationary earth orbits (GEO) and extended orbits (GEO-XO).

(more…)

NOAA Takes Next Step Toward New Ideas for Future Satellites

An advanced meteorological satellite (Credit: NOAA)

WASHINGTON (NOAA PR) — NOAA has completed a review of the many responses from two Broad Agency Announcements, or BAAs, seeking fresh ideas for new instrument technologies and concepts for future use on its next-generation geostationary, extended orbit, and polar-orbiting weather satellites.

(more…)

NASA Selects ULA’s Atlas V Rocket to Launch GOES-T Weather Satellite

ULA Atlas V rocket carrying the AEHF-4 mission for the U.S. Air Force lifts off from Space Launch Complex-41. (Credit: ULA)

Centennial, Colo., Dec. 18, 2019 (ULA PR) – NASA’s Launch Services Program announced today that it selected United Launch Alliance’s (ULA’s) proven Atlas V vehicle to launch the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES)-T mission, the second to last satellite in the GOES constellation. This award resulted from a competitive Launch Service Task Order evaluation under the NASA Launch Services II contract.

(more…)

Rocket Lab Opens Second Launch Complex on Wallops Island

Rocket Lab’s launch complex on Wallops Island. (Credit: Rocket Lab)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Ten months after the first pilings were driven in, Rocket Lab declared its new launch complex on Wallops Island, Va., open and ready to serve the U.S. military’s need for rapid response launches with the company’s Electron booster.

“We’re proud to call Wallops Island in Virginia our home. We’re very proud to deliver a new launch capability to the United States. We’re very proud to support U.S. missions with a U.S. launch vehicle on U.S. soil,” CEO Peter Beck said during a press conference.

(more…)

China Launch Surge Left U.S., Russia Behind in 2018

Long March 2F rocket in flight carrying Shenzhou-11. (Credit: CCTV)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The year 2018 was the busiest one for launches in decades. There were a total of 111 completely successful launches out of 114 attempts. It was the highest total since 1990, when 124 launches were conducted.

China set a new record for launches in 2018. The nation launched 39 times with 38 successes in a year that saw a private Chinese company fail in the country’s first ever orbital launch attempt.

(more…)











GOES-17 Mishap Investigation Board Completes Study

The GOES-S satellite being lowered into a thermal vacuum chamber. (Credit: Lockheed Martin)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — A Mishap Investigation Board appointed by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has identified the most likely cause for an instrument issue aboard NOAA’s Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES)-17 satellite that launched March 1, 2018 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

During post launch testing of the satellite’s Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI), teams discovered the instrument’s infrared detectors could not be maintained at the required temperatures during some orbital conditions, which resulted in a partial loss of three of the instruments 16 bands during certain times of the year.

The ABI is GOES-17’s primary instrument for imaging Earth’s weather, oceans, and environment. It views the Earth with 16 spectral bands including two visible, four near-infrared, and 10 infrared channels.

The mishap board was tasked with gathering and analyzing information, and identifying the proximate causes, root causes, and contributing factors related to the ABI performance issues.

It concluded the most likely cause of the ABI cooling issue is a blockage in the instrument’s loop heat pipes, which transfer heat from the ABI electronics to its radiator. The blockage restricted the flow of coolant in the loop heat pipes, causing the ABI to overheat and reducing the sensitivity of infrared sensors.

NOAA and NASA have adjusted the instrument operations, and are working to improve the quality of the data in order to reduce the impact of the cooling issue.

GOES-17, in the GOES-West position, is helping forecasters track weather from torrential rain events to wildfires and other environmental hazards throughout the U.S. western region, including California, Alaska and Hawaii. Also, GOES-17 is monitoring typhoons in the eastern Pacific Ocean, including Hawaii. 

The Mishap Investigation Board Summary Report is available online at:

https://www.nasa.gov/reports

GOES-17 is one in a series of NOAA’s next generation geostationary weather satellites which include GOES-16, 18 and 19. The advanced instrument technology used on these satellites will result in more timely and accurate forecasts and warnings. It will improve support for the detection and observations of meteorological phenomena. The GOES-R Series program is a collaborative development and acquisition effort between NOAA and NASA to develop, launch and operate the geostationary weather satellites.

Soyuz Launches New Weather Satellite, 32 Secondary Payloads

VOSTOCHNY COSMODROME, Russia (Roscosmos PR) — Today, on July, 5 2019 at 08:41:46 Moscow time Soyuz 2.1b carrier rocket with Fregat booster was successfully launched from Vostochny Cosmodrome. The rocket carried Meteor-M Russian meteorological spacecraft No. 2-2 as well as 32 spacecraft as secondary payload. The injection into orbit took place during 4.5 hours after the launch.

The launch vehicle including Soyuz 2.1 (built by Progress Russian Space Center), Fregat booster (built by NPO Lavochkin) operated as expected. According to the flight program the booster put the main and secondary spacecraft into three different orbits. After the completion of the program the booster will be sunk in a non-navigable district of the Pacific ocean.

Meteor-M spacecraft No. 2-2 was built by VNIIEM Corporation and falls into the category of Earth remote sensing satellites. The spacecraft is capable of providing images of clouds, Earth surface, ice and snow cover in visible, infrared and microwave bands. It is also capable of receiving data about the sea surface temperature and ozone layer condition, as well as measuring humidity level. This data will help to improve weather forecast accuracy in Russia.

29 satellites were launched for Germany, France, USA, Israel, UK, Sweden, Finland, Thailand, Ecuador, Czech Republic and Estonia. Three Russian academic CubeSats were launched as well.