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Satnews Daily
March 30th, 2015

NOAA's New Civilian Weather Satellites To Be Built By OrbitalATK

[SatNews] Orbital ATK, Inc. (NYSE: OA) has been awarded a contract by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to design, produce and integrate as many as three Joint Polar Satellite Systems (JPSS) spacecraft, to be operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to provide critical weather forecasting data and to advance environmental and oceanographic science.

The contract includes a firm order for the first satellite, referred to as JPSS-2, valued at $253 million and options for two additional satellites, JPSS-3 and -4, valued at $217 million. 

Artistic rendition of the NOAA JPSS-1 satellite.

Image courtesy of Ball.

The JPSS-2 satellite will provide operational continuity of space-based weather observations, extending the successful 40-year NOAA/NASA partnership into the 2020 and 2030 decades. Under the new contract, Orbital will design and fabricate the JPSS spacecraft, integrate government-furnished instruments, conduct satellite-level testing, and support in-orbit check-out and mission operations. The JPSS-2 satellite will be delivered in 2020, while JPSS-3 and JPSS-4 will be delivered in 2024 and 2028, respectively, if NASA exercises those options. Each JPSS satellite will have a design life of at least seven years once it is launched into orbit. The critical data provided by these satellites will allow NOAA to continue its 50-plus year mission to protect lives and property from severe weather events and to enhance economic prosperity across a wide range of industries,” he added.

The JPSS satellites will be built on the company’s LEOStar-3 platform, a medium-class low-altitude-orbit spacecraft that is used for NASA’s Fermi and Swift gamma-ray astrophysics satellites and its Landsat-8 and ICESat-2 Earth science satellites as well as for commercial imaging and defense missions. The JPSS satellites will be designed, manufactured and tested by Orbital ATK’s Space Systems Group at its facilities in Gilbert, Arizona.