The U.S. Navy’s Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR), San Diego has selected Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corp. for Geosat Follow-on 2 (GFO-2), the next generation ocean altimetry satellite. GFO-2 measurements will be used for global ocean, and tactical battlespace characterization.
Under the GFO-2 contract, Ball Aerospace will upgrade the payloads, as compared to the original GFO satellite that was launched in 1998, with a dual frequency radar altimeter, and provide enhanced radio frequency interference immunity with significantly reduced data latency.
The GFO-2 satellite will be operated from the Multi-Mission Satellite Operations Center located at Kirtland Air Force Base. The altimetry data will be processed at the Naval Oceanographic Office located at Stennis Space Center, Mississippi.
“It’s a global imperative to maintain critical ocean observation information based on altimetry data,” said Ball Aerospace president and CEO, David L. Taylor. “We look forward to restoring and enhancing our nation’s precision altimetry data stream with proven spacecraft and payload designs and algorithms.”
For GFO-2, Ball Aerospace directs the activities of several experienced altimeter mission partners including instrument suppliers Thales Alenia Space and ITT/EDO. Ball Aerospace will deliver the Payloads Operation Centers hardware and software, and provide the satellite platform.
In addition, the company will perform payload/satellite integration, launch vehicle management and on-orbit commissioning. GFO-2 has a six-year operational mission life following its anticipated launch in 2014.
Ball Aerospace was also contracted for the original GFO satellite. GFO was decommissioned in 2009 after a decade of successful operations, exceeding its mission life by five years and design life by two years.