Global science and technology company Leidos has secured a $117m task order from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to develop the seventh generation geostationary earth orbit (GEO) satellite.
The GEO satellite will be used for the FAA Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS), a safety-critical system that boosts global positioning system (GPS) standard positioning service (SPS).
The system allows aircraft to rely on GPS during all phases of flight journey, including precision approaches to any airport within the area where it operates.
Leidos Transportation Solutions senior vice-president Fran Hill said: “For nearly 20 years, Leidos has partnered with the FAA to provide technology solutions that ensure our nation’s airspace is safe and efficient for both pilots and travellers.
“This award will allow us to continue to deliver accurate, reliable signals and quality service for years to come.”
Leidos will complete the development phase of the satellite over the four-year period and will also provide operations and maintenance services for ten years. Work will be carried out in Gaithersburg, Maryland.
The company will develop, test and integrate a satellite payload for the programme’s new GEO 7 satellite as well as its associated pair of ground uplink stations in partnership with space-segment provider Intelsat General and technology partners US Electrodynamics and Knight Sky.
The stations will transmit GPS navigation data which will be corrected and improved for accuracy.
Additionally, Leidos will manage the stations to ensure the augmented GPS navigation signals are sent by the satellite in line with WAAS requirements.
The GEO 7 payload is scheduled to be launched during the first quarter of 2020. The system’s operational phase will start in 2021.