Space: May 9, 2000


The Pentagon is planning to cancel a competition to design the next generation of encrypted communications satellites and instead issue a single contract to the three competitors as a joint team. This would accelerate the program by two or three years, considered necessary due to the recent loss of a Milstar-II satellite. The new plan will involve Lockheed Martin, TRW, and Hughes. They will first build a satellite that duplicates Milstar-II capabilities, but has the ability to be upgraded via transmitted software. This will be followed by five new satellites with enhanced capabilities.--Stephen V Cole


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