17:34 GMT +315 December 2018
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    A sign at the new Lockheed Martin Manufacturing Centre of Excellence is seen at the company's headquarters in Ampthill near Bedford, Britain June 9, 2016.

    Lockheed Martin to Build Infrared Spacecraft for US Air Force - Pentagon

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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - US aerospace giant Lockheed Martin won almost $3 billion to build three space vehicles to operate in geosynchronous high earth orbits (HEO) 22,000 miles above the planet, the Defense Department said in a press release.

    "Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Sunnyvale, California, has been awarded a $2,935,545,188 not-to-exceed undefinitized contract for three Next Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared Geosynchronous Earth Orbit Space Vehicles," the release said on Tuesday.

    The contract encompasses requirements analysis, design, development and early manufacturing, the release added.

    Work on the three new infrared satellites will be performed in Sunnyvale in the US state of California over the next three years and is expected to be completed by April 30, 2021, the release added.

    Last week, the Pentagon unveiled a report on establishing a Space Command as a separate branch of the US armed forces that the White House said would be in place by 2020.

    According to the report, command capability development efforts will focus on global surveillance for missile targeting and other priorities. The report also identified China and Russia as America’s primary adversaries in space.

    Congressmen Mike Rogers and Jim Cooper, high-ranking members of a House subcommittee on strategic forces, said the Pentagon’s new report will be helpful in speeding up acquisitions of more advanced systems to boost US capabilities in space.

    In June, US President Donald Trump signed an executive order to start the creation of a new space force despite a 1967 treaty signed by more than 100 nations banning the militarization of space.

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    Tags:
    space, geosynchronous Earth orbit, infrared spacecraft, Pentagon, US Air Force, Lockheed Martin, United States
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