Press Release

Milestone Reached in Development of Next Generation Environmental Satellite System

By SpaceRef Editor
February 25, 2002
Filed under , ,

$4 Billion Project Released for Industry Proposals

A major milestone in the development
of a single national environmental satellite system has been
reached with the announcement today of a Request for Proposals
for the National Polar-orbiting
Operational Environmental Satellite System
. The next generation
system would combine military and civilian environmental satellite
programs into a more cost effective, unified program. Announcement
of the RFP
for the almost $4 billion contract was made today by the Commerce Department’s National
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
.

NOAA, the Department
of Defense
, and the National
Aeronautics and Space Administration
are developing a satellite
system that will provide improved real-time environmental information
24 hours a day, seven days a week.

<"The interagency NPOESS team, in partnership with industry, is blazing a new path for the United States in the development, acquisition, management and operation of environmental
satellites
," said Commerce Secretary Don
Evans
. "This cooperative effort will result in more
efficient operations and less costly government."

The Request for Proposals was
for the Engineering and Manufacturing Development and Production
phase of the NPOESS
program
. The proposals will be evaluated and later this year
an award will be made for a single contract valued at approximately
$4 billion over the life of the program.

The contract to build, deploy
and operate an advanced operational environmental satellite system
will significantly improve weather forecasting and climate prediction.

Once operational later this decade,
it is estimated that NPOESS will save taxpayers about $1.8 billion
over its lifetime. The savings would be a result of combining
the nation’s military and civilian environmental satellite programs
into a single, national system that will satisfy both civil and
national security requirements for space-based, remotely sensed
environmental data. The NPOESS program will combine NOAA’s
Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite program

with the Defense Department’s Defense
Meteorological Satellite Program
.

"NPOESS will allow us to
take one part of the pulse of Mother Earth that will ultimately
benefit all sectors of our society, including families across
the country, the scientific community, and the business community," Vice Admiral Conrad
C. Lautenbacher, Jr. USN (Ret.)
, Under Secretary of Commerce
for Oceans and Atmosphere. "This next generation satellite
system represents the most significant change in U.S. operational
remote sensing since the launch of the first weather satellite
in 1960."

NPOESS data will support joint
program requirements to improve the accuracy of weather forecasts
that will better support operational decisions, help monitor
important aspects of oceans and climate, ensure that our humanitarian
relief and rescue efforts are more responsive, and anticipate
the weather for planning in military operations.

The Request for Proposals was
released by the tri-agency Integrated
Program Office
on Feb. 14, after approval from the Under
Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics
,
E.
C. "Pete" Aldridge
and the Under Secretary of the
Air Force, Peter
B. Teets
.

Note to Editors: Information
about the NPOESS program is online at: http://www.npoess.noaa.gov/.

SpaceRef staff editor.