New 'SpacePlex' to cater to small satellite needs
- By L. Scott Tillett, L. Scott Tillett
- Feb 23, 2000
General Dynamics Corp. has announced plans for a New Mexico-based complex
that will enable the company to manage as many as 100 satellite systems
and feed data directly to corporate clients, including government agencies.
David Messner, business manager for the company's space activities, said
General Dynamics would pursue federal agencies with smaller satellite projects
as customers for its new "SpacePlex," under development at New Mexico State
University in Las Cruces. He said General Dynamics would cater to organizations
that need help managing small satellite projects with one or two satellites
rather than a large constellation of satellites.
"Between the government's trend toward outsourcing and the growth of commercial
telecommunications service offerings by companies that rely on external
partners for critical network components, the demand for fee-for-service
operations is about to explode," said Ken Osborne, General Dynamic' director
for civil and commercial space services.
The new complex would, for example, be able to support a NASA satellite
for observing conditions on Earth, but would not be capable of supporting
an entire fleet of satellites such as those used in the Global Positioning
System, Messner said. It will be used to control satellites and to direct
data from those satellites to a client's users.
General Dynamic's Worldwide Telecommunication Systems business unit will
oversee operation of the SpacePlex. The unit already offers satellite support
services to NASA and the Defense Department at locations in New Mexico,
Colorado, Maryland, Maine, Guam and California.
The company expects to complete SpacePlex in late summer.