Lockheed Martin, TRW Win
Space-Based Radar Contracts
by Robert Wall
04/28/00 08:04:27 PM U.S. EDT
Lockheed Martin and TRW have each won $6 million system design contracts for the Defense Dept.'s Discoverer-2 space-based radar system. Spectrum Astro was involved in the program, but didn't receive funding to continue its work.
The joint Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, National Reconnaissance Office, Air Force effort simply couldn't afford awarding three contracts, said David Whelan, Darpa's director for tactical technology programs.
Discoverer-2 is a space-based experiment to determine if low-cost satellites (around $100 million) can provide ground moving target indication, synthetic aperture radar and digital terrain mapping capability. Two experimental satellites are slated to be launched in 2005.
Although the initial contracts are small, the program could grow into a 24 low-Earth orbit constellation. The government is slated to pick a single design team for the demonstration next year.
During the next phase, the competitors high-level designs will be refined. Raytheon is the radar provider on the Lockheed Martin system, while Northrop Grumman would supply the TRW team.