A joint venture led by Houston-based space exploration company Intuitive Machines has landed a contract worth up to $719 million to work on NASA’s Joint Polar Satellite System.
Space & Technology Solutions, Intuitive Machines’ joint venture with Houston-based engineering and construction company KBR, secured the contract. Intuitive Machines supplies products and services to support robotic and human space exploration.
“Humanity’s advancement into the solar system is built upon more than a decade of innovation … , and Intuitive Machines intends to continue that legacy,” Steve Altemus, CEO of Intuitive Machines, says in a news release.
“This win is of strategic importance,” he adds, “allowing Intuitive Machines to support NASA in designing, developing, and demonstrating critical technology required to support the emerging orbital servicing market, and a validation of the company’s experience in spacecraft development, autonomous systems, and near-space communications.”
The Joint Polar Satellite System is the nation’s advanced network of polar-orbiting environmental satellites, says the National Environmental Satellite Data and Information Service. These satellites circle the earth from pole to pole and cross the equator 14 times daily.
The project launched its first satellite in 2011. By 2032, the system will feature five satellites.
The satellites measure conditions in the atmosphere, in oceans, and on land. These conditions include temperatures, moisture, clouds, rainfall, dense fog, volcanic ash, smoke and fires, snow and ice cover, and ozone.
Information collected by the satellite system supplies data to:
- Help the National Weather Service monitor and forecast weather, including hurricanes, tornadoes, and blizzards.
- Enable scientists and forecasters to study long-term climate trends.