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NASA Awards Raytheon $250M

The firm will manage data from satellites that researchers use to observe the effects of climate change on Earth.

NASA has awarded Raytheon a five-year, $250 million contract to maintain and manage data from space instruments to study climate change on Earth.

The contract, for the evolution and development of NASA's Earth Observing System Data and Information System, has an initial value of $75 million, according to a Raytheon statement.

Raytheon, in Waltham, Mass., provides a range of technologies, including electronics, mission systems integration, and other capabilities in the areas of sensing, effects, and command, control, communications, and intelligence systems. It also provides professional and support services. Its 2009 annual sales were $25 billion.

NASA created EOSDIS, which went into operation in 1999, to manage and provide access to data collected by a series of Earth observation satellites.

Under the terms of the contract, Raytheon will manage this data, which gives climate researchers access to information about the Earth's atmospheres, oceans, and lands -- as well as the interaction between them -- so NASA researchers can study climate change.

Other scientists, educators, public agencies, and the general public also will use the information for disaster planning and response, assessing natural resources, and achieving a better understanding of the Earth's integrated ecosystem, according to Raytheon.

Raytheon developed the core components of EOSDIS when it was first launched. In 2003, the firm won a NASA contract to provide core system maintenance and development and has been working with the agency on the system ever since.

Known mainly for its research in space, NASA is now taking an even deeper look at what's happening on Earth as well. The agency recently got a boost in funding from the Obama administration to study global climate change from satellites in space.

The administration awarded $2.4 billion to NASA's Earth science division over the next five years to deploy technology to study glacier melt, chemicals in the atmosphere, ocean temperatures, and other factors researchers believe are contributing to climate change. The division performs ecological research on Earth from space.

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