December 3, 2020
By George I. Seffers
A U.S. Space Force office has revealed a hundreds of millions of dollars in commercial satellite contracts to be awarded in the coming months. Credit; Panuwatccn/Shutterstock

During the AFCEA TechNet Cyber conference, the U.S. Space Force revealed a total of 25 commercial satellite communications (COMSATCOM) contracts to be awarded in the coming months. 

Mike Nichols, chief of the COMSATCOM Solutions program, a business unit of the Commercial Satellite Communications Office, U.S. Space Force, highlighted several of the opportunities. Some programs released requests for proposal in November, but industry still has time to respond.

July 12, 2019

SES Government Solutions Inc., Reston, Virginia, was awarded a firm-fixed-price task order against the competitive single award blanket purchase agreement (BPA) from General Services Administration's Information Technology Schedule 70 contract for commercial satellite communication services, HC1013-18-A-0002, which was awarded April 13, 2018. The face value of this task order is $7,151,397, funded by fiscal 2019 operations and maintenance funds. The total cumulative face value of the BPA is $516,700,000 (contract ceiling). Performance will be centralized to the U.S. Central Command, with the BPA representing worldwide coverage.

July 3, 2019

Hughes Network Systems LLC, Germantown, Maryland, was awarded an $11,823,659 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for the research and development effort to research solutions, prototype products and demonstrate solutions that include machine learning to improve transport and network performance availability and reliability. One bid was solicited with one bid received. Work will be performed in Germantown, Maryland, with an estimated completion date of December 30, 2023. Fiscal year 2019 research, development, test and evaluation funds in the amount of $1,863,123 were obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, is the contracting activity (W56KGU-19-C-0016).

March 4, 2019

SES Government Solutions Inc., Reston, Virginia, was awarded a firm-fixed-price contract modification (P00007) to exercise Option Period Four on task order GS-35F-0328V / HC101315F0008 for commercial satellite communications service. The face value of this action is $8,356,608 funded by fiscal year 2019 operations and maintenance funds. The total cumulative face value of the task order is $45,264,960. Performance directly supports the U.S. Central Command Southwest Asia Area of Responsibility. Quotations were solicited via the General Services Administration's Federal Supply Schedule, Information Technology Schedule 70. Five quotations were received from 22 solicited offers.

October 1, 2018
By Rebecca Cowen-Hirsch
Information Systems Technician 2nd Class Austin Vosburg, USN, performs routine maintenance on the USS Zephyr’s commercial broadband satellite program equipment. The maritime family of SATCOM terminals provides high data rate communications to small and large ships.

The impact of world events on military operators in the field have made missions exponentially more demanding, and in tandem, the very simple concept of connectivity has transformed into a complex and challenging task. As new events occur around the globe, military and government users in remote and often hostile environments require instant and reliable connectivity empowered by robust intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance sensor data. Resilient and secure satellite communications capabilities warfighters rely on also must be accessible at a moment’s notice.

September 1, 2018
By Kimberly Underwood
Hughes’ latest satellite, EchoStar XIX, provides high-capacity broadband, increasing satellite Internet service in North America.

The commercial satellite industry is harnessing a perfect storm of technological advancements, cost reductions and increased emphasis on mobile communications to provide greater global connectivity. Innovation is reaching all aspects of the industry, from satellite manufacturing, satellite launch services and satellite ground equipment to satellite services, industry officials report, driving cost savings and performance gains.

August 30, 2018

ViaSat Inc., Carlsbad, California, was awarded a non-competitive, firm-fixed-price contract to provide senior leaders and their support staff with Ku-band and Ka-band communications utilizing ViaSat subscription service while travelling via aircraft. The face value of this action is $55,687,458 funded by fiscal year 2018 and 2019 operations and maintenance funding. The total cumulative face value of the contract is $559,850,730. Performance will be primarily in California and Colorado.  Proposals were solicited via electronic means and one proposal was received.

October 17, 2017

To support its Global Hawk Program, NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center (AFRC) is tapping Gaithersburg, Maryland-based UltiSat, Incorporated to provide commercial Ku-band satellite capacity with coverage of the Continental United States (CONUS), Atlantic and Pacific. AFRC operates Global Hawk UAV aircraft for atmospheric research, including the assessment and monitoring of developing tropical storms to forecast storm tracks and potential landfall points for advanced notifications and warnings. UltiSat is a provider of end-to-end managed satellite communications (SATCOM) networks. "UltiSat is proud to support this scientific application of our SATCOM services,” Steve Roth, UltiSat program director, said.

May 16, 2017
By Sandra Jontz
A screenshot shows the launch Monday of an Inmarsat-5 Global Xpress satellite aboard the SpaceX Falcon rocket from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The fourth Inmarsat Global Xpress satellite successfully boosted into space Monday evening on a SpaceX Falcon rocket, adding broadband capabilities to a network of high frequency satellites.

April 1, 2017
By Sandra Jontz
The U.S. Defense Department lacked sufficient satellite resources for many missions during the Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts, propelling the department to rely heavily on commercial services for its satellite needs.

As the U.S. Defense Department goes full force into managing its terrestrial digital infrastructure of interconnected systems, it faces an additional challenge: connecting the moving dots involving space-based networks. Military satellite users want commercial service providers to develop more resilient and flexible communication networks based on open architectures to streamline shifts between military and commercial resources. 

May 16, 2016
FEMA has awarded the Contingency Satellite Services Project contract to UltiSat Inc.

UltiSat Inc., Gaitherburg, Maryland, announced it has been awarded the Contingency Satellite Services Project by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). This task order is part of the Future COMSATCOM Services Acquisition-Custom Solutions 2-Small Business (FCSA-CS2SB) contract. UltiSat will provide FEMA with satellite services to support operational communications requirements for response and recovery missions. This support will be provided through an always-on network that will be utilized for training, testing and operations responses. This network will also have the ability to surge and increase in size as necessary in terms of bandwidth, data rates and geographic coverage.

March 8, 2016
By Sandra Jontz
SBIRS High features a mix of four geosynchronous earth orbit (GEO) satellites, two highly elliptical earth orbit (HEO) payloads and associated ground hardware and software.

In its enduring space race to narrow the materializing gap between the United States and peer competitors, the Air Force’s fiscal year 2017 budget emphasizes sustaining mission capabilities and improving space resilience by investing in command and control programs, situational awareness technologies, expendable launch systems and satellite communications.