NASA awards communications deal

NASA has awarded Qwest Communications International Inc. and TKC Communications LLC a joint contract to build a high-speed network for secure communications among the space agency's facilities.

The network will provide a slew of services, including Frame Relay and dedicated access, linking sites in phases beginning with NASA headquarters and the following centers: Marshall Space, Glenn Research, Kennedy Space, Johnson Space and Ames Research.

Some connections will be able to simultaneously send more than 600,000 e-mails per second, according to Qwest.

The network is part of the larger "One NASA" effort under way. The synergistic program marks a departure from a previous culture in which the agency's centers operated decentralized systems.

"This is a unique project that will showcase Qwest's ability to deliver a tailored communications solution to a high-profile federal agency with multiple sites throughout the United States — an important asset in today's increasingly data-centric communications environment," James F.X. Payne, senior vice president and general manager of the company's government services division, said in a Dec. 11 news release.

The contract, potentially worth $7.2 million, is a one-year agreement with options for two more years. As part of the arrangement, Qwest will mentor TKC Communications, a small, Alaska native-owned business.

"We are very excited to provide best-of-breed solutions to NASA with our partners at Qwest," Steven Giani, president of TKC Communications, said in the release.

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