USmax wins NOAA deal

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration awarded a $2.6 million contract last week to a Maryland systems and engineering company to operate and maintain the agency's Network Operations Center (NOC).

USmax Corp., an 8(a)-certified technology company based in Gambrills, Md., is partnering with Aster Engineering to provide network support and connectivity to about 15,000 NOAA personnel throughout the nation. The sole-source, one-year contract has two one-year renewals.

The NOC ensures, timely, reliable and secure network communications among all NOAA administrative and field offices. The company will provide the center's services based out of the agency's Silver Spring, Md., Metro Center campus.

The operations center contract "is one of the most significant and vital contracts for that organization," said David Pak, president of USmax, which has about 40 employees. "It's high-level, network engineering, network architecture. This is a great opportunity to apply ourselves and support the mission."

The company also has deals with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the Agriculture and Defense departments.

In other NOAA news, officials recently unveiled a new computer system called the Comprehensive Large Array-data Stewardship System (CLASS) that provides users access to environmental data and products obtained from satellite or ground observations.

CLASS requires a minimum of two sites, physically separated from one another with full data processing capabilities for continuity of business operations in case of a disaster. The National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C., and the Office of Satellite Data Processing and Distribution in Suitland, Md., are using the system simultaneously to share the processing load and provide search capabilities for the same data catalog because they are both synchronized.

"This is an initial but significant step in developing CLASS, which represents NOAA's commitment to providing a system where researchers and policymakers can easily access this data for the benefit of the nation," Gregory Withee, assistant administrator of NOAA's Satellites and Information Service, said in a press release.

NOAA conducts research and collects data about the oceans and the atmosphere; provides information about weather data, forecasts, and warnings; and monitors marine fisheries and the coastal environment.

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