Boeing [BA] protested the decision by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to award a $1.09 billion weather satellite contract to Lockheed Martin [LMT].

NASA and NOAA earlier this month awarded the contract for the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites (GOES-R), and Boeing Monday protested that award, in documents filed with the government referee in contract disputes, the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

The GAO has 100 days to decide the case, until a deadline of March 25.

Boeing was the prime contractor for the current series of geosynchronous environmental satellites, GOES N, O and P.

In a statement yesterday, Boeing said NASA erred in awarding the contract to Lockheed Martin. The decision to file a protest with the GAO “was taken only after careful consideration,” Boeing stated.

The Chicago company said it believes, “in light of the information that has been provided to this point, that we offered a superior proposal under the disclosed evaluation criteria.”

Under the contract, Lockheed Martin is to supply two satellites under the basic portion of the contract, with two possible options, each for one additional satellite, for a total of four.

Lockheed Martin would get the full $1.09 billion if all options are exercised.

Northrop Grumman [NOC] also had won an earlier program definition GOES-R pact, and had submitted a proposal for GOES-R. A spokeswoman for Northrop Grumman said the company had no comment to make on whether it, too, will protest the award to Lockheed Martin. The matter is under review, she said.

This is the second recent major win for Lockheed Martin in NASA competitions. The space agency earlier chose Lockheed Martin to build the next-generation U.S. spaceship, Orion, which will go to low Earth orbit and then, by the end of the next decade, to the moon.

Lockheed Martin is to design, develop and deliver the GOES-R series of spacecraft and provide pre-launch, launch and post-launch support.

The first launch of the GOES-R series is scheduled for 2015. Lockheed Martin would design and develop the spacecraft in its Newtown, Pa., Sunnyvale, Calif., and Denver facilities.

These satellites provide a platform for Earth-viewing, solar-viewing and space-viewing instruments. The data from the instruments are used for weather forecasting and environmental, space and solar science.

The new satellites will improve existing weather and environmental monitoring capabilities.

Some members of Congress have been concerned about continuity of satellite data in the environmental, space and other areas, because of delays and cost overruns in a separate program, the National Polar-Orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS). However, it recently has shown progress in developing NPOESS sensors.

NOAA funds, operates and manages the GOES program. NASA, through Goddard Space Flight Center, Md., manages the acquisition of GOES-R spacecraft and instruments for NOAA.

Boeing Satellite Systems, Inc., filed the protest against NASA Monday, and the GAO hasn’t yet named the attorney who will handle the case numbered NNG08193033R.