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NASA Promotes Unfunded Partnerships

August 8, 2013
By George I. Seffers

 

NASA is requesting information from U.S. companies interested in pursuing unfunded partnerships to develop integrated systems that will advance the development of commercial space products and services for human space exploration and operations. NASA officials describe the effort as a win-win-win for industry, NASA and the nation.

NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate launched the initiative, which is known as Collaborations for Commercial Capabilities. It provides opportunities for companies and non-profit organizations to access NASA’s spaceflight experience and expertise for mutually beneficial space exploration. The partnerships are designed to help companies accelerate development efforts. “I see this as benefitting all parties,” says Philip McAlister, NASA commercial space flight director. “These companies can certainly benefit from NASA’s experience. NASA is going to benefit because we get to see these innovative ideas and get to have a little better insight into what’s going on in the commercial industry so that we factor that into our deep space exploration plans.”

The benefits, however, could go beyond NASA and the companies involved. “The nation is going to benefit because we’ll see that NASA’s work is being reused for the benefit of the taxpayer multiple times. Hopefully, it will benefit our economy as well as our technological and industrial base,” McAlister adds.

Although the initial partnerships will not involve monetary contracts, companies will receive guidance and five decades of lessons learned from NASA and could eventually find the agency to be a customer. “NASA could potentially buy the services that become available that way,” McAlister states.

Lockheed Martin to Provide Nuclear Weapon Security Equipment

July 22, 2013
George I. Seffers

 
Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co., Sunnyvale, Calif., is being awarded a $9,552,979 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to provide security hardware, associated software, equipment installation, system test, accreditation, certification and delivery of nuclear weapon security system equipment at U.S. Navy Installations. This contract contains options, which if exercised, will bring the contract value to $10,917,152. The Navy's Strategic Systems Programs, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity (N00030-13-C-0043).  
 

University Teams Participate in Deep-Space Habitat Challenge

July 11, 2013

Seven projects from six universities will be put to the test in NASA and the National Space Grant Foundation’s 2014 Exploration Habitat (X-Hab) Academic Innovation Challenge, a program designed to heighten students’ interest in spaceflight-related disciplines and complement NASA’s current research and development on deep-space habitats.

The teams of undergraduate students will face a series of milestones throughout the 2013-2014 academic year to design, manufacture, assemble and test systems and concepts that could be used in future deep-space habitats, working closely with the NASA Advanced Exploration Systems program’s Deep Space Habitat Project team. Participants are encouraged to explore multidisciplinary approaches, outreach efforts and partnerships with experts and industry through the challenge. The teams are to produce prototypes, which may be integrated onto an existing NASA-built operational habitat prototype in May to June 2014.

Lockheed Martin Supports Space Based Infrared System

July 1, 2013
George I. Seffers

 
Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co., Sunnyvale, Calif., has been awarded a $75,230,383 modification to the existing fiscal 2013-2016 Contractor Logistics Support, Legacy Sustainment, and Combined Task Force Support contract for the Space Based Infrared System Survivable Endurable Evolution (S2E2), Increment 1. The total cumulative face value of the contract is $181,098,565. This contract modification is for permanent sustainment modifications to the current Mobile Ground System (MGS) to enable processing of Defense Support Program and SBIRS geosynchronous orbit satellites mission data and to perform limited contingency SBIRS GEO satellite commanding. This project also replaces the existing Intermediate Maintenance Facility with the Maintenance and Operations Support Suite used for pre-deployment preparation on the S2E2 MGS Force Packages, and to provide maintainer and limited operator training. The Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center Infrared Space Systems Directorate Contracting Division is the contracting activity.  

Satellite System Adds to Capabilities Menu

July 1, 2013
By Rita Boland

On-the-move communications go digital for 
troops in regular or disadvantaged locations. 


Personnel work on a Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) satellite to prepare it before it launches into space. When complete, the MUOS constellation will have four active geosynchronous satellites and one on-orbit spare.

Military users of narrowband communications worldwide will have a range of upgraded capabilities once a new satellite constellation takes full flight. The second satellite in the set is scheduled for launch this month, meaning that soon half the globe will be covered by the enhanced services. When the system reaches full operational capability in 2015, it will include four active geosynchronous satellites and one on-orbit spare.

Boeing Supports Space Based Surveillance System

June 14, 2013
George I. Seffers

 
The Boeing Co., Seal Beach, Calif., has been awarded a $10,892,553 cost-plus-award-fee contract modification for contractor logistic support, analysis, and Type III anomaly support for the Space Based Space Surveillance Block 10 System. This modification provides for the exercise of an option for these services, which are provided under the basic contract. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center/Space Superiority Directorate, Los Angeles, Calif., is the contracting activity.

Nanosatellites STARE at Space Junk

May 17, 2013
By George I. Seffers

 

 

 

NASA Extends Mission Operations Support Contract

April 26, 2013
George I. Seffers

NASA has exercised a contract option with Lockheed Martin Corp. of Gaithersburg, Md., to provide continued mission control systems services, development, maintenance and operations support as part of the Facilities Development and Operations Contract. The extension has a total estimated value of $166.8 million and extends the period of performance through Sept. 30, 2014. The total contract value has been increased to $1 billion. Lockheed Martin will provide support for the hardware, software, data and displays systems used to train for and execute all human spaceflight missions supported by the Mission Operations Directorate at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. The contract provides systems services support within the Christopher C. Kraft Jr. Mission Control Center and the Jake Garn Mission Simulator and Training Facility at Johnson, and at various backup control centers.

U.S. and Australia Share Space Information

April 24, 2013

The U.S. Defense Department has signed a space situational awareness (SSA) memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Australia’s Department of Defence. The MOU permits the the two countries to exchange SSA data, which facilitates transparency and improve flight safety.

Advanced data exchanges support launches, maneuver planning, on-orbit anomaly resolution, electromagnetic interference reporting and investigation. In addition, sharing this information assists in identifying launch anomalies and decommissioning activities as well as supports on-orbit conjunction assessments.

Advanced Capabilities Required for Future Navy Warfighting

April 4, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman

Future conflicts likely will be fought in degraded information technology environments, which will require the U.S. Navy to develop and exploit new capabilities to continue to operate in contested cyberspace. Technologies such as a flexible information grid, assured timing services and directed energy weapons must be part of the naval information system arsenal if the sea service is to maintain information dominance through the year 2028.

These were just a few of the findings presented in the Navy’s Information Dominance Roadmap 2013-2028, which was released in late March. Presented by Rear Adm. William E. Leigher, USN, the Navy’s director of warfighter integration, the report outlines the growing challenges facing the fleet and how the Navy must meet them.

The report divides information dominance challenges into three areas: assured command and control (C2), battlespace awareness and integrated fires. While the United States will continue to maintain supremacy in those areas, that supremacy is shrinking as more nations are closing the gap between U.S. capabilities and the ability to disrupt them.

Among the advanced capabilities the Navy will require toward the end of the next decade is assured electromagnetic spectrum access. Achieving this will entail fielding greater numbers of advanced line-of-sight communication systems; being able to monitor combat system operational status and adjust it using automated services; having a real-time spectrum operations capability that enables dynamic monitoring and control of spectrum emissions; and generating a common operational picture of the spectrum that is linked to electronic navigation charts and displays operational restrictions.

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