Five Rivers Services Awarded US Air Force Satellite Support Contract


Five Rivers Services has been awarded a subcontract from Harris IT Services under Harris’ Air Force Space Command (AFSPC) Network and Space Operations and Maintenance (NSOM) contract in New Hampshire. Harris IT Services is a leader in the design, deployment, operation and maintenance of highly reliable, secure communications systems and information networks for voice, data and video.

NSOM supports the 50th Space Wing’s Air Force Satellite Control Network (AFSCN), headquartered in Colorado Springs, which is responsible for providing readiness, launch, early orbit/on-orbit support, and anomaly resolution for a variety of satellite constellations.

Five Rivers Services’ subcontract provides operations and maintenance at the New Boston, New Hampshire satellite command and control station. The New Boston Air Force Station is one of several satellite command and control stations operating the AFSCN. Collectively, the AFSCN facilities provide operational telemetry, tracking, and commanding support for virtually all Department of Defense (DOD) space vehicles plus selected National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and foreign allied nations' space programs. 

As satellites pass overhead, AFSCN antennas like the ones at New Boston perform a number of functions including monitoring the state of health of the space vehicle, uploading new commands to maneuver the satellite or downloading data from the satellite. To accomplish this, the New Boston facility operates three antennas and their associated computer equipment.

“This is the critical mission we are accomplishing at New Boston,” said Edward D. Allard, Senior Program Manager at Five Rivers Services. “Our people operate and maintain multiple antennas 24 hours a day and manage nearly 30,000 satellite contacts each year supporting more than 140 Department of Defense, national agency, National Aeronautics and Space Administration and allied satellites.”

This is Five Rivers Services second major venture into the “space” business. In 2009, FRS was awarded the prime contract on the Air Force Space Surveillance System (AFSSS). Different from the new project, it was a satellite tracking system. AFSSS used radars located across the southern United States to track satellites as they would fly over. Then, that tracking data would be provided to numerous users including the AFSCN which used that data to determine when those satellites would be overhead to send and receive data.

“From a gee-whiz standpoint, what’s interesting is the tie-in between Five Rivers Services’ old contract and new contract. The AFSSS contract would find satellites and figure out where they were at and where they were going to be. On the NSOM contract, they use that same information to talk to the satellites that are flying overhead.” Allard described.  “Five River Services has excelled in space operations and maintenance, and continues to expand its capabilities in this vital mission area.”

While NSOM performs a different piece of the space mission, both contracts provided operations and maintenance to space systems. In fact, Five Rivers Services success on AFSSS contributed directly to the award of the NSOM subcontract.  On AFSSS, Harris was a subcontractor to Five Rivers Services.  It was that successful partnership that resulted in Harris looking to FRS when they needed a new subcontractor on NSOM.

“I think it’s about the quality of the working relationship between Harris and Five Rivers. Harris was a part of our award-winning team on AFSSS.  They saw the benefits of partnering with a strong, mission oriented small business.  We had a great partnership on AFSSS, so it dovetailed nicely into this opportunity and potentially for future opportunities as well,” Allard said.

With the addition of the new contract, Five Rivers Services firmly has their foot in the door in space operations and maintenance. Expanding into this new mission area now and actually performing satellite command and control has established within the NANA family a core competency in space operations. In the past, Five Rivers Services advertised that core competency, but they were basing it on a single enterprise. Not only do they have a second contract that confirms their competency, but this a significant piece of the mission for space command. Now in the arena, NANA is ready to compete for even bigger and more exciting pieces of that mission space.

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