Small companies get White Sands computer contract

A small-business partnership has received a contract to run and support computer systems at the nation's largest missile testing range.

Caelum Research Corp. and University Technical Services Inc., which uses the name Unitec, say the Information Systems and Support Services contract at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico could be worth up to $60 million over 15 years, based on performance.

The first-year value is $4.3 million, with 51 percent going to Caelum and 49 percent to Unitec.

Unitec, a subsidiary of Pyramid Services Inc. of Alamogordo, N.M., has held the contract since 1991, the year it was formed to compete for the work.

Tasks include network engineering, database and systems administration, communications security and running a help desk for users.

Caelum, a 16-year-old professional services company based in Rockville, Md., does projects for a number of federal concerns, including NASA, the National Institutes of Health and the Pentagon.

At White Sands, work will include high-end programming, Caelum said, such as development and maintenance of a financial interface to the Army's standard accounting system.

About 70 employees, 35 from Caelum and 32 from Unitec, will work on the contract. Caelum said it is one of its largest contract wins. Both companies are privately held.

The contract was awarded June 3, announced last month by Caelum and begins Sept. 1.

More than half of contract work at White Sands goes to small businesses or small-business subcontractors of large companies.

The 2 million acre range in arid south-central New Mexico is used to measure performance of rockets, missiles and space systems and sensors for the military, industries and other government agencies, including NASA.

White Sands also operates a proving ground in neighboring Arizona that specializes in testing electronics, communications and control systems.

White Sands was the site where the world's first nuclear bomb was exploded in a July 16, 1945 test.

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