NOAA 2002-021
Contact: Pat Viets
NOAA News Releases 2002
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$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: