As scientists sleuth to enhance U.S. military air mission capabilities through automation and alternative technologies, some in the Office of Naval Research want to find ways for aircraft—manned or unmanned—to operate in even the worst kinds of weather. Along with working on aircraft that would operate without a Global Positioning System, radar or even pilots, the experts are exploring how these vehicles could function in the most unfavorable conditions—particularly as they navigate the complex maritime role unique to the U.S. Navy of landing aircraft on moving ships.
The John Hopkins University-Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, Md., is being awarded a $9,403,639 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for support to the Weather Satellite Follow-on Broad Agency Announcement. The contracting activity is Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif.
NASA, on behalf of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, recently awarded a $248 million sole-source contract for the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS-1) spacecraft to Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corporation, Boulder, Colorado. Ball will design, build and test the spacecraft; integrate government-furnished instruments; integrate the satellite with the launch vehicle; and support launch operations and on-orbit checkout. The spacecraft is a clone of the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environment Satellite System Preparatory Project. JPSS-1 is expected to be ready for launch in 2014.
AeroTech Research Inc., has been awarded a NASA Small Business Innovative Research contract to develop a software toolset that quantifies the beneficial effects of equipping aircraft with improved weather avoidance technologies. The Advanced Weather Avoidance Requirements Evaluation software will allow airlines and avionics manufacturers to quantify costs and benefits of implementing technologies that reduce the impact that severe weather can have on aircraft operations.