The Boeing Co. [BA] currently is competing for about $14 billion worth of additional satellite/space-related business, an area that already generates $3.2 billion of annual revenues, according to Craig Cooning, vice president and general manager of Boeing Space and Intelligence Systems.

New contracts would add to an existing backlog of about $6 billion to $7 billion, he said.

Cooning also was asked about another program where Boeing has a presence, the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-R Series constellation of satellites, poised for a potential contract award.

GOES-R could face a financial crunch harming the program if Congress uses a continuing resolution to fund the program, which effectively would freeze funding in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2009, at the current level in fiscal 2008.

That harm could occur, unless an exception were granted for the GOES-R program.

"We’re working closely with" the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and with NASA, Cooning said.

This is, he stressed, an important program, because GOES satellites provide weather information that can be critical in major storms.

"The national need of having weather satellites up there on a constant basis" is vital, he said. "Clearly, we need to get on with the replacement for GOES-N, O and P. And that’s what GOES-R is supposed to be."

For example, he noted, such satellites are crucial to tracking storms such as Hurricane Katrina, to warn people and permit preparations to reduce damage and loss of lives.

Cooning declined to say that Boeing is lobbying Congress actively on the GOES-R funding issue, but the firm is providing support for those needing information, he indicated.