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Hughes Leverages Major Commercial Investment Into Bid for DoD's Wideband Gapfiller System

File Photo of a Milstar Bird. Hughes leads the team that will design and manufacture a Wideband Gapfiller Satellite system that is readily integrated within the existing infrastructure, is easily operated by military personnel, and is responsive to warfighter needs across the broad spectrum of operations in peacetime and conflict situations.
El Segundo - Sept. 12, 2000
Hughes Space and Communications Co. (HSC) has proposed a system solution consisting of several high-power, high-capacity satellites, with associated spacecraft and payload control segments, to the Department of Defense (DoD) for the Wideband Gapfiller Satellite program.

HSC has a multi-decade history of supporting the DoD with space systems and technologies, including subcontract work to Lockheed Martin's Milstar and Advanced EHF programs.

"We have the end-to-end systems capability, management expertise, proven processes and facilities, and relevant domain knowledge necessary to deliver a low-risk Wideband Gapfiller System that dramatically improves support to the U.S. tactical warfighter," said Tig H. Krekel, president and chief executive officer of HSC.

HSC's proposed solution draws heavily from the company's flight-proven commercial technology, and also draws heavily from HSC's latest large-scale systems initiatives. HSC is within weeks of launching the first of two geosynchronous satellites for the Thuraya mobile communications system. The turnkey system will serve a market area of approximately 1.8 billion people and has the capacity to support 13,750 simultaneous phone calls.

HSC is also a major participant in Spaceway, a high-speed, high-bandwidth communications system planned for initial launch in 2002. Spaceway is a next-generation broadband technology turnkey system, able to provide point-to-point data service hundreds of times faster than conventional phone lines. It will provide bandwidth-on-demand capability by employing innovative on-board digital processors, packet switching and spot beam technology.

Hughes leads the team that will design and manufacture a Wideband Gapfiller Satellite system that is readily integrated within the existing infrastructure, is easily operated by military personnel, and is responsive to warfighter needs across the broad spectrum of operations in peacetime and conflict situations.

The team consists of highly experienced satellite communications (SATCOM) contractors with specialties in systems engineering and legacy ground control and terminal segments to ensure that the Wideband Gapfiller is an effective, interoperable complement to the existing Defense Satellite Communication System and Global Broadcast Service.

The team includes Harris Corp., the foremost provider of wideband SATCOM ground terminals, and experts in terminal and payload interfaces; ITT Industries, the preeminent supplier in wideband SATCOM network management and control systems; Logicon, a leader in SATCOM network management software development and operations; SAIC, with unmatched experience in SATCOM systems engineering and communications architectures; and The Boeing Co., a world-class systems integrator of space and terrestrial systems.

As the world's largest satellite manufacturer, HSC's commercial satellites have amassed an unparalleled 1,087 years in orbit, and nearly 40 percent of the commercial satellites in geosynchronous orbit today were built by HSC. The Hughes 601 and 601HP models are the most often purchased satellites in the world. Currently, 57 of the 77 ordered to date have been launched for customers around the world, with 20 more currently in production.

The Hughes 702 satellite was introduced in 1995 in response to commercial customer demands for increased capacity and spacecraft power. The first Hughes 702, Galaxy XI, is the most powerful satellite ever built. It was launched on Dec. 21, 1999, and is currently providing video distribution, Internet and telecommunications services in North America and Brazil from an initial orbital position of 99 degrees West longitude. HSC has 10 Hughes 702s currently in production, and at least two more Hughes 702s will launch this year.

"We are incredibly proud of the success of the Hughes 601 and the Hughes 702, and believe that the flexible payloads and advanced broadband capabilities have distinguished HSC as the foremost provider of spacecraft with this level of unprecedented power and capability," said Krekel. "Clearly this level of capability, coupled with our latest technological innovations, will enable HSC to meet the demands of the warfighter today and into the next decade.

"HSC has dedicated itself to providing best-value systems solutions, proven in flight, in order to obtain the best value for the government and best technology for the warfighter in the field," said Krekel. "It is this combination of our commercial and government business that will enable HSC to supply a commercial-like solution. The fact that this procurement is a firm, fixed-price contract also plays to our commercial strengths."

Within the state-of-the-art manufacturing, integration and test complex at HSC, shared processes and economies of scale are achieved which benefit commercial and government customers alike. The company has also initiated a number of metrics focused on quality and reduction of manufacturing cycle time.

Every HSC program is managed with proven processes, including an Earned Value system, a formal Gated Process, with specific success criteria for moving from one stage to another in the design and manufacture of satellite and ground systems.

To prepare for the Wideband Gapfiller program and ongoing business, HSC has prepared a comprehensive staffing plan, in addition to an aggressive retention and recruitment plan.

"This year, more than 600 highly talented people have been hired here at HSC. We have also made special efforts to retain the critical skills of our most experienced employees, and have even brought back some retirees as contractors," Krekel said.

"We have a large, cross-trained, mobile workforce that can shift back and forth from commercial to government programs, which enables us to meet our current commitments," Krekel added. "What we are doing now is preparing for future success, in addition to compensating for the employees we will naturally lose to attrition. An interesting item to note is that after being raided by dot-com companies earlier this year, we have had 30 employees return to us after brief stints at dot-coms."

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Lockheed Martin Wins $53 million GPS Modernization Contract
Sunnyvale - Sept. 11, 2000
The U.S. Air Force recently awarded Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Sunnyvale, CA, a $53 million contract to begin development of modernization changes for up to 12 Global Positioning System (GPS) Block IIR satellites.

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