NOAA 2006-017
Contact: John Leslie
NOAA News Releases 2006
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NOAA and NASA announced today that Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company Advanced Technology Center, of Palo Alto, Calif., Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corporation, of Broomfield, Colo., and ITT Industries Space Systems Division, of Fort Wayne, Ind., were each awarded a $2 million dollar contract for the formulation phase for the Geostationary Lightning Mapper, a key instrument of the next generation of Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites, called GOES-R. This series of spacecraft will enable NOAA to provide improved — and uninterrupted — GOES data for users around the world.

NOAA’s National Weather Service estimates that lightning strikes within the United States an average of 25 million times each year, killing an average of 67 people and causing property losses, damage to aircraft and electronics and can trigger wildfires. The GLM will provide important information that would be used in the development of improve safety warning forecasts for the public across the nation.

The GLM consists of an optical system, high speed optical pulse detectors and processing electronics, which will provide real-time measurement of lightning activity over the full disk. The GLM will also detect individual lightning pulses and provide: the location of lightning flashes, continuous full-disk lightning measurements for thunderstorm and tornado warnings, issued by NOAA’s National Weather Service, and accumulate a long-term database to determine decadal changes in lightning activity.

This 12-month contract is an attempt to identify risk reduction efforts before specifying final performance requirements for the implementation phase later. NOAA manages the GOES program and establishes the requirements, provides funding and distributes environmental data for the United States. NASA procures and manages the acquisition of GOES for NOAA.

NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department, is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of our nation’s coastal and marine resources. Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners and 60 countries to develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes.

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