New 'SpacePlex' to cater to small satellite needs

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.

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