FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Patricia Viets
The Commerce Department's NOAA has awarded a $1.9 million contract to Science Systems and Applications, Inc. of Lanham, Md., on behalf of NOAA's National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service.
The contract provides for the operations, software and technical support of the U.S. Mission Control Center in Suitland, Md. The center is the hub of satellite-based search and rescue operations in the United States.
The center collects, stores, and sorts distress signals sent via emergency radio beacon from aircraft and boats and ships in distress. Distress signals are received by NOAA satellites and sent to ground terminals that then transmit the information to the center. The center in turn passes the information to the appropriate search and rescue coordination centers. Though most of the alert data distribution is automatic, the U.S. Mission Control Center is staffed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. More than 11,000 lives have been saved since the search and rescue system began in 1982.
The contract also provides for support of a data collection system, a satellite-based relay system used to collect information from environmental sensors on earth-based platforms. An electronic signal containing the environmental data observed by the sensors on the platform is sent to a transponder on board the satellite and then re-broadcast to ground equipment holding the relevant database.
The initial contract is for one year of support with a performance-based option to extend the contract for up to four years. The initial contract award is for $1,962,688 with a total estimated value of $11,824,717 if all options are exercised.
NESDIS manages the nation's geostationary, and polar-orbiting environmental satellites, equipped with search and rescue instruments, and data collection systems.
For more information please visit http://www.nesdis.noaa.gov