NOAA Satellites

AIMD-96-141R: Published: Sep 13, 1996. Publicly Released: Sep 13, 1996.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided interim information on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) plans for acquiring future spacecraft for its Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) System. GAO noted that: (1) the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's analysis of the planned NOAA sole-source procurement of four spacecraft showed that the sole-source contract would be 5 percent more expensive than a competitive procurement, but NOAA chose this option because it believed it could not complete a competitive procurement in time for the scheduled launch date in 2001; (2) NOAA has not formally revalidated its GOES system requirements since the late 1980s; (3) National Weather Service officials believe the uses of GOES data have changed considerably since the last evaluation and it plans to conduct a 2-to-3 year assessment of such uses to determine future requirements; (4) experts have suggested several commercial alternatives to GOES that would be less expensive and offer greater flexibility; and (5) NOAA believes that budget and legal constraints prevent it from pursuing these alternatives.

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