Shoot for the moon
The November moon was green for Lockheed
Martin Corp., thanks to a billion-dollar
NASA award, while Science Applications
International Corp. huddled with the
Defense Department on eight awards worth
a total of more than half a billion dollars.
SAIC's largest single award came from
the Army Central Command's Directorate of
Command and Control, Communications
and Computers in Tampa, Fla. A $226 million,
five-year Millennia contract puts headquarters
and joint theater-level communications
and computer networks in SAIC's
In addition, the San Diego company will
work with the Army to support a biometric
toolset and network planning, the Air
Force to protect military aircraft and the
Navy to develop planning tools, evaluate
technology and support its overseas network.
In total, SAIC received contracts
worth $563.9 million.CONSTELLATION
More than a year after its request for comments
on the Facilities Development and
Operations Contract (FDOC), NASA rejected
Boeing Co.'s bid and tapped Lockheed
Martin for the $667 million award ($977 million
The new contract consolidates the
Mission Support Operations Contract, which
Lockheed Martin holds, and some work
done under the Space Program Operations
Contract held by Houston-based United
Space Alliance LLC, a joint venture of
Lockheed Martin and Boeing that is also a
member of Lockheed Martin's FDOC team.
FDOC covers support for space flight
operations at Johnson Space Center's
Mission Control Center in Houston and backup
control centers for the space shuttle. The
contract includes supporting the International
Space Station and Constellation
programs and developing a Constellation
The contract is the latest agencywide
drive to consolidate efforts and improve
value, said Vajira Ranaviraja, a senior analyst
at Reston, Va., market researcher Input Inc.
In June, NASA announced the creation of
the Information Technology Infrastructure
Improvement Program (I3P), which will consolidate
about $15 billion worth of both the
Unified NASA IT Services contract and the
Outsourcing Desktop Initiative for NASA,
For Constellation's opportunities, much
hinges on the fate of the space shuttle, one
of the top 13 most pressing issues for the
Obama administration, a Government
Accountability Office report states.
NASA's budget reauthorization was for
only one year so that the new administration
could set the agency's priorities, said
Ross Bell, a policy analyst at the professional
group American Institute of Aeronautics
and Astronautics Inc. in Reston, Va.
"With the deadline for mothballing the
shuttle coming up April 30, 2009, that decision
will have to be made soon," Bell said.
"We'll have a better idea about mid-March
with the fiscal 2010 budget requests."
Constellation ? which includes development
of the Orion spacecraft, the Ares I and
Ares V launch vehicles, and the lunar lander
? is meant to maintain the U.S. presence in
low-Earth orbit, put a U.S. outpost on the
moon and prepare for Mars exploration,
respectively. Space shuttle Endeavour's last
flight is scheduled for May 31, 2010, and the
first piloted Orion won't launch until 2015.
"NASA seems pretty gung-ho about
shutting down the shuttle program; it's
continued well beyond its life cycle as it is,"
Ranaviraja said. The United States would
be able to access the International Space
Station only through Russia's Soyuz spacecraft.
"It is a huge strategic oversight for
the United States not to have its own
manned spaceflight capabilities,"
Input said that in 2009, NASA might
issue awards for an Ares V cargo launch
vehicle payload shroud, Earth departure
stage, core stage, first-stage booster, avionics
and hardware development. In
November, NASA updated and expanded a
request for information on the Federal
Business Opportunities Web site for the
planned acquisition strategy for Ares V.
The agency also awarded a $182,398 contract
to Ohio State University Research for
work on a new spacesuit for Constellation
Sami Lais is a special contributor to Washington Technology.