NASA awards millions to six companies for satellite communications
(24 Apr 2022) NASA awarded nearly US$280 million worth of contracts to private firms to begin developing near-Earth space communication services that may support future missions, the agency said last week.
The companies selected for the Communications Services Project (CSP) programme are as follows, listed with the funding granted by NASA to each:
- Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX): US$69.95 million
- Kuiper Government Solutions (KGS) LLC: US$67 million
- Viasat Incorporated: US$53.3 million
- Telesat U.S. Services LLC: US$30.65 million
- SES Government Solutions: US$28.96 million
- Inmarsat Government Inc.: US$28.6 million
This is just the first phase of these grants; NASA also expects each of the companies to "match or exceed its contributions … totalling more than US$1.5 billion of cost-share investment" over the five-year duration of the programme.
NASA has been evaluating the feasibility of employing commercial SATCOM networks for near-Earth operations for more than a year. The space agency is working toward decommissioning its current near-Earth satellite fleet.