Lockheed Martin won almost $3 billion to build three space vehicles to operate in geosynchronous high earth orbits (HEO) 22,000 miles above the planet, the US Defence Department said in a press release.
“Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Sunnyvale, California, has been awarded a $2,935,545,188 not-to-exceed un-definitized contract for three Next Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared Geosynchronous Earth Orbit Space Vehicles,” the release said on Tuesday.
The contract encompasses requirements analysis, design, development and early manufacturing, the release added.
Work is expected to be completed by April 30, 2021. Space based infrared surveillance (SBIRS) uses infrared surveillance to provide early missile warning for the US military and is considered one of the nation’s highest priority space programs. The system includes a combination of satellites and hosted payloads in Geosynchronous.
Last week, the Pentagon unveiled a report on establishing a Space Command as a separate branch of the US armed forces that the White House said would be in place by 2020.
According to the report, command capability development efforts will focus on global surveillance for missile targeting and other priorities. The report also identified China and Russia as America’s primary adversaries in space.