WASHINGTON — NASA awarded incumbent ITT Exelis, Herndon, Va., a contract potentially worth $435 million over 10 years to support and sustain the Deep Space Network (DSN), which the agency uses to communicate with spacecraft far away from Earth.

The contract, which has a five-year base period, calls for Exelis to provide maintenance, operations, and engineering services for the global DSN radio network, which has arrays in Barstow, Calif., Madrid, and Canberra, Australia. Exelis announced the award in a May 22 press release. 

Jai-Rui Cook, a spokeswoman for the NASA -funded Jet Propulsion Laboratory of Pasadena, Calif., which manages the DSN, said May 23 she was unable to provide a dollar value for the five-year base contract because the terms have yet to be finalized. 

Under the contract, the company will operate and maintain 10 large ground antennas, the facilities that support them, and manage a public outreach campaign for DSN, according to the press release. 

The company’s current 10-year, $576 million contract to sustain the DSN runs out on Sept. 30.

The DSN award is one of several large support contracts up for grabs from NASA this year.

Exelis’ Information Systems group, which will perform the work, also is the incumbent on several large U.S. Defense Department ground networks that are up for grabs this year. 

Dan Leone is the NASA reporter for SpaceNews, where he also covers other civilian-run U.S. government space programs and a growing number of entrepreneurial space companies. He joined SpaceNews in 2011.Dan earned a bachelor's degree in public communications...