Sierra Nevada Corp. wins big contract for satellites
Sierra Nevada Corp. of Sparks has won a $117 million contract to build 18 communications satellites.
The contract with ORBCOMM Inc. includes an option for Sierra Nevada Corp. to provide up to 30 additional satellites.
The satellites will be launched in 2010 and 2011. ORBCOMM plans three separate missions, each of them involving the launch of six satellites.
ORBCOMM, which is headquartered at Fort Lee, N.J., operates a network of 29 low-earth orbit satellites that provide communications services to specific industries. Trucking companies, for instance, use its satellite network to keep track of their fleets.
Sierra Nevada has developed a mechanical system that allows multiple satellites to be efficiently packaged into several types of launch vehicles, and ORBCOMM said that provides much-needed flexibility in choosing a company to launch the satellites into orbit.
As prime contractor on the contract, Sierra Nevada Corp. assembled a team that includes Boeing Intelligence and Security Systems, ITT Space Systems and other subcontractors.
MicroSat, a wholly owned subsidiary of Sierra Nevada Corp., will design and test the satellites. Sierra Nevada’s acquisition of MicroSat, a developer of small satellites that is headquartered in Littleton, Colo., was announced in early January.
John Stolte, executive vice president of technology and operations for ORBCOMM, said the Sierra Nevada Corp. proposal improves the capacity of the satellite communications system, allows faster delivery of messages and allows use of larger messages.
He called the proposal “an impressive technical solution.”
Fatih Ozmen, chief executive officer of Sierra Nevada Corp., said the company believes the contract announced last week week could be the start of a “long and productive relationship with ORBCOMM.”
Privately held Sierra Nevada Corp. employs about 1,200 people in more than 30 locations in 20 states.
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