Satellites

August 14, 2017

Lockheed Martin Space Systems Littleton, Colorado, has been awarded a $45,482,492 cost-plus-incentive-fee modification (P00450) for military code (M-Code) early use software. The contract will enable M-Code tasking, monitoring and signal in space for current and future global positioning system satellites. Work will be performed in Maryland, Pennsylvania and Colorado, and is expected to be completed by December 2019. This award is the result of a sole-source acquisition. Fiscal 2017 research and development funds in the amount of $15,300,000 are being obligated at the time of award. Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base, California, is the contracting activity (FA8807-08-C-0010).

April 17, 2017
By Sandra Jontz

The cannonade of small satellites hovering above the Earth is creating a dilemma for government and industry alike: how to process enormous amounts of data sent to the ground. 

Collecting information isn’t the hard part, nor is transmitting it, experts say. What vexes intelligence analysts the most is not being able to make heads or tails of petabyte upon petabyte of data. But the government seeks help from the commercial world to make that happen.

February 1, 2017
By Carl Morris and James Christophersen
A new state-of-the-art Satellite Earth Terminal Station (SETS) in Landstuhl, Germany, provides improved heating, ventilation and air conditioning and power distribution as well as additional floor space to better accommodate increased systems and subsystems. Photo courtesy U.S. Army-PM DCATS

U.S. Army satellite ground stations are getting a much-needed total makeover—considering that several hail from the same era as the Vietnam War, the Kennedy presidency and the space race. 

Their high-tech moniker—Satellite Earth Terminal Stations, or SETS—belies the actual nature of these facilities. The structures appear to more closely resemble corrugated steel warehouses for auto parts than suitable environments for cutting-edge satellite communications (SATCOM) equipment. During the 1960s, digital SATCOM was hardly a twinkle in the eye of technologists. SATCOM speed, volume and complexity would increase by many orders of magnitude over the next five decades.

December 1, 2016
By Sandra Jontz

The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity, or IARPA, has selected its winners from its crowd-sourced Multi-View Stereo 3-D Mapping Challenge—a contest to see who could best convert satellite photos into 3-D models to create more accurate maps.

The top challenge solvers demonstrated their solutions during an all-day workshop Wednesday in Washington, D.C. The open source solutions were released during the event and will be made available to the public on an IARPA website.

November 29, 2016

Recent technological advances have brought the on-orbit robotic servicing of satellites closer to reality. Now the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has kicked off the Consortium for Execution of Rendezvous and Servicing Operations (CONFERS) to tackle the lack of clear, widely accepted technical and safety standards for responsible performance of on-orbit activities involving commercial satellites.

September 1, 2016
by Raymond Guzman and N.A. Chu

When Russia launched the world’s first artificial satellite, Sputnik 1, nearly 59 years ago, the orb hurtled uncontrollably through space, transmitting basic broadcast radio pulses for a mere three weeks before its batteries were exhausted.

How times have changed.

Experts have developed satellite resiliency at an exponential rate, enhancing capabilities by leaps and bounds since the novel one-way signals of Sputnik were heard around the world.

June 17, 2016
By Tony Bardo

Recent disasters such as hurricanes Katrina and Sandy have demonstrated the importance of improving the nation’s emergency communications infrastructure at all levels of government. Ensuring consistent, uninterrupted communications during a disaster, and the days immediately following, is essential to an organization’s ability to meet mission-critical response requirements. Unfortunately, communications infrastructures easily fall victim to physical damage, leaving personnel and emergency responders unable to effectively communicate.

June 9, 2016
By Sandra Jontz
NATO officials highlight several business initiatives to meet future needs during the NITEC 2016 cyber conference in Tallinn, Estonia. Photo by Marcos Fernandez Marin, NCI Agency

Industry said, “Show me the money,” and NATO obliged.

Officials shared several key business initiatives to meet future NATO needs during the three-day NITEC 2016 cyber conference, informing industry members about 3 billion euros ($3.4 billion) worth of upcoming business opportunities and contract work.

March 24, 2016
By Sandra Jontz
Maj. Gen. Roger Teague, USAF, director of space programs in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Acquisition for the U.S. Air Force, discusses future programs at AFCEA's TechNet Air symposium.

Every military operation conducted around the world is enabled by space as well as cyber operations, domains closely linked and threatened alike. “As it is with cyber, and as the world is certainly witness to, our space domain is critically important,” said Maj. Gen. Roger Teague, USAF, director of space programs in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Acquisition for the U.S. Air Force.

March 1, 2016
By Rory Welch
Operators staff the East Coast Satellite Operation Center (ESOC) in Northern Virginia. The ESOC flies the majority of Intelsat’s global satellite fleet, which provides mission critical support for the full range of the company’s government and commercial customers.

Growing threats to national security in the space domain have prompted U.S. Air Force leaders to revamp plans and programs to adapt to a new reality of reinforcing system and network resiliency and shifting its people and resources to focus on warfighting functions. Government space capabilities, augmented by commercial systems, will play critical and active roles to secure U.S. and allied interests in and through the increasingly contested domain of space, requiring the Air Force and the Defense Department to proactively plan how to enable more coordinated and integrated space enterprise operations.

December 3, 2015
By Sandra Jontz

The third Inmarsat Inc., Global Xpress satellite is now fully operational after reaching its final orbital position. Activation of the third satellite in a fleet of three provides complete global coverage of the company’s program to heighten global communication capabilities on land, at sea and in the air, according to a company statement.

September 30, 2015
By Rebecca M. Cowen-Hirsch

The Defense Department has reached a turning point in satellite communications (SATCOM) acquisition and deployment. On one hand, it is transitioning SATCOM from narrowband to wideband to keep up with ever-accumulating voice, video and data consumption. On the other, the budget forecast for the foreseeable future does not cover the replacement or addition of military satellite communications (MILSATCOM) systems, except for those within existing programs of record.

August 17, 2015
By Sandra Jontz

Inmarsat Incorporated plans to launch the anticipated third satellite of its Global Xpress network August 28 from Kazakhstan, a re-do launch after a previous attempt had been delayed.

The third satellite is needed for complete coverage of the international company’s program to heighten global communication capabilities on land, at sea and in the air.

Inmarsat-5 (I-5) F3, which will provide satellite communications coverage from its position over the Pacific Ocean, had been scheduled to launch in early June but was delayed following the failure in May of the Khrunichev-International Launch Services Russian Proton rocket as it dispatched a Mexican communications satellite.

July 2, 2015
By Sandra Jontz

The mobile craze and the shift to constant connectivity—even if it means paying steep prices for slow Internet speeds—have paid off for both airlines offering onboard Wi-Fi hot spots and satellite communications providers.

July 1, 2015
By Robert Demers
A U.S. Army soldier works with a power unit supplying a satellite antenna during an exercise. Military and civilian governments increasingly will benefit from future satellite network systems that are smaller, lighter and simpler and use less power.

Anyone who ever has switched to a new smartphone or computer knows that the transition is rarely smooth. Software never seems to load easily; printer connections need adjusting; passwords must be found; and online accounts have to be set up all over again.

December 13, 2013

Lockheed Martin Corp, Newton, Pa., has been awarded a $200,700,415 cost-plus-incentive-fee modification (P00276) on an existing contract (FA8807-08-C-0010) for GPS III space vehicles 05 and 06. The Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center Contracting Directorate, Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif., is the contracting activity.

October 25, 2013
George I. Seffers

Iridium Satellite LLC, McLean, Va. was awarded a $7,241,112 sole-source contract for hardware and software repairs, maintenance, Gateway Technical Assistance Center support and Information Assurance Vulnerability Alert services for the Enhanced Mobile Satellite Services Defense Department Gateway Iridium components. The total potential contract term is for five years to include a one-year base period and four one-year options. The total potential value of this contract is $38,000,004, with the base and each option year period including both firm-fixed-price and cost-reimbursable contract line items.

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