WASHINGTON — Imaging satellite operator GeoEye has selected Lockheed Martin over incumbent contractor General Dynamics to build its GeoEye-2 satellite, Lockheed Martin announced March 11.

Dulles, Va.-based GeoEye has authorized Lockheed Martin Space Systems of Sunnyvale, Calif., to begin ordering long-lead components and engage in other activities leading to a launch of GeoEye-2 at the earliest possible date, Lockheed said in a press release. A full contract to build the satellite and associated ground systems is expected to follow, the press release said.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed in the press release.

General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems of Gilbert, Ariz., built the high-resolution GeoEye-1 satellite, which was launched in 2008. GeoEye two years ago authorized the start of work on the GeoEye-2 imaging camera by ITT Geospatial Systems of Rochester, N.Y., but made no announcement on the builder of the satellite platform.

According to industry sources, General Dynamics lost a considerable sum of money on the fixed-price contract to build GeoEye-1, and could not come to terms with GeoEye on the contract to build GeoEye-2.

Meanwhile, General Dynamics’ satellite manufacturing unit is being sold to space hardware builder Orbital Sciences Corp. of Dulles in a deal that was announced March 4. That transaction is expected to close in early April.

Lockheed Martin Space Systems built GeoEye’s Ikonos satellite, which has been on orbit for more than a decade collecting imagery at resolutions as sharp as 0.82 meters.


Warren Ferster is the Editor-in-Chief of SpaceNews and is responsible for all the news and editorial coverage in the weekly newspaper, the spacenews.com Web site and variety of specialty publications such as show dailies. He manages a staff of seven reporters...