Ball Aerospace Awarded $486.9 Million Contract for NOAA’s GeoXO Sounder

Ball Aerospace has been awarded a $486.9 million contract by NASA to deliver a sounder for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Geostationary Extended Observations (GeoXO) satellite program. Under the contract, Ball will build and deliver one GeoXO sounder, integrate it with the next-generation NOAA weather satellite, and provide support for the first flight instrument. The contract also includes options for additional sounders.

The anticipated period of performance for this contract is 15 years, which includes 10 years of on-orbit operations and five years of on-orbit storage for each flight instrument. The work will be carried out at Ball’s facility in Boulder, Colorado, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The GeoXO Sounder, also known as GXS, is a hyperspectral infrared instrument designed to detect infrared light and provide real-time information about the vertical distribution of atmospheric moisture, temperature, and winds over the Western Hemisphere. This data is expected to improve numerical weather prediction, short-term forecasts of convection and severe weather, as well as hurricane track and intensity forecasts by the National Hurricane Center.

The GeoXO program is the successor to the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites – R Series program and is projected to start gathering data in the early 2030s. L3Harris was previously selected by NOAA in March to provide the imager instrument for the satellites under a $765.5 million contract.

NOAA has requested $417.4 million for the GeoXO program in its fiscal year 2024 budget proposal. NOAA is responsible for funding and managing the program, operations, and data products, while NASA collaborates with commercial partners to develop and build the instruments and spacecraft, as well as launch the satellites.