by Staff Writers
Gaithersburg MD (SPX) Apr 19, 2011
Thales Alenia Space has awarded a contract to Lockheed Martin to develop, test and support integration of payload application software for the Iridium NEXT satellites.
Thales Alenia Space is the prime contractor for Iridium NEXT, the next-generation satellite constellation being designed, built and launched for Iridium Communications of McLean, Va. Iridium NEXT is expected to begin launching in 2015, and will replace the company's current satellite constellation.
"Lockheed Martin, selected as the result of a competitive process, offered the lowest-risk and most comprehensive solution for the payload application software needed to meet the challenging requirements of Iridium NEXT," said Reynald Seznec, President and CEO of Thales Alenia Space.
"We look forward to working with Lockheed Martin as part of delivering this program successfully."
"Lockheed Martin looks forward to partnering with Thales Alenia Space on this important program," said Robert Kramer, Lockheed Martin Information Systems and Global Solutions- Defence Vice President of Operational Systems and Services.
"We bring extensive full life-cycle experience in spacecraft, ground systems and software development to provide Thales Alenia an outstanding overall software solution. Our team has a thorough understanding of the Iridium NEXT system and the payload application software that will provide the important foundation for both backward compatible legacy services as well as promising new services in the near term and over the life of the new constellation."
Iridium operates the world's farthest reaching communications network and largest commercial satellite constellation, providing the only truly global voice and data satellite communications service through a constellation of 66 low Earth-orbiting (LEO) satellites. Iridium NEXT will significantly enhance the capacity and services of the network.
"Thales Alenia continues to construct the most impressive technology team possible as it builds out Iridium NEXT," said Matt Desch, CEO, Iridium.
"Lockheed Martin is a long-time Iridium partner, and we are confident that its payload application software will be a key enabler as we extend our unique connectivity applications, services and devices to a broader user base on Earth and in space through Iridium NEXT."
The awards will allow US commercial companies to achieve critical milestones on the path to achieving commercial human spaceflight capabilities, thereby enabling America to end America's reliance on Russian vehicles to send humans to space, lower costs to the U.S. taxpayer, replace some of the capabilities of the Space Shuttle when it retires later this year, and help spur new technology innovation and job growth in the U.S. space industry.
The CCDev2 program represents the continuation of NASA's Commercial Orbital Transportation Services ("COTS") Cargo and CCDev programs, under which companies have been developing various commercial launch vehicles and spacecraft.
Awards will take the form of milestone-based, fixed-price, pay-for-performance NASA investment using Space Act Agreements instead of traditional government contracts. The program will culminate in a Commercial Crew Program in which companies will demonstrate the capability of taking NASA crews to and from the International Space Station.
"This is a landmark day for commercial spaceflight. This is a big step towards opening up the space frontier," said John Gedmark, Executive Director of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation.
"Leveraging private investment is the only way NASA can make its dollars go farther in these times of belt tightening. And by investing in commercial spaceflight rather than continuing to sending billions of dollars to Russia, NASA's Commercial Crew Program is creating American jobs instead of sending them abroad."
"This announcement marks a critical milestone on the path to a commercial human spaceflight sector that will lower the cost of space access and open new markets," said Eric Anderson, Chairman of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation.
"To have a large and diverse group of U.S. companies among the winners, including both established contractors and newer entrants, emphasizes that American industry is ready to handle the task of commercial human spaceflight-safely, affordably, and rapidly. We expect immediate job creation across the United States, including in Alabama, California, Colorado, Florida, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Virginia, and Washington state."
Anderson added, "A major advantage of commercial spaceflight programs over traditional NASA procurements is that the CCDev program is commercially structured so that NASA pays only when performance milestones are met. These agreements are fixed-price, milestone-based, and leverage private investment. These companies are investing their own money alongside NASA's money adding even more investment in the final system. Each taxpayer dollar goes farther."
The Commercial Spaceflight Federation is pleased to congratulate:
+ Blue Origin of Kent, Washington, which will receive $22 million for orbital commercial spaceflight vehicle design and development, including testing of its pusher escape system and engine testing.
+ Sierra Nevada Corporation of Louisville, Colorado, which will receive $80 million to mature the Dream Chaser human spaceflight system, focusing on multiple spacecraft items.
+ SpaceX of Hawthorne, California, which flew its Dragon capsule to orbit and recovered it successfully last year, which will receive $75 million for items including launch escape system engine maturation and crew accommodation prototype development.
+ The Boeing Company of Houston, Texas, whose team includes CSF member Bigelow Aerospace, which will receive $92.3 million for CST-100 crew spacecraft maturation and launch vehicle integration, focusing on multiple items including launch escape system propulsion.
Commercial Spaceflight Federation
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