Lockheed’s Space Skills Clinch Antarctica Contract

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Using what it has learned from the depths of space, Lockheed Martin will soon help the U.S. government explore another remote expanse: Antarctica.

Lockheed was awarded a 13-year National Science Foundation contract, worth up to $2 billion, to operate and maintain the facility of the U.S. Antarctic Program, which allows universities, research institutions and federal agencies to conduct scientific research in the region, according to a company news release.

Lockheed will manage work stations and medical facilities, research vessels, construction projects and remote sites in and around Antarctica. The contract also seeks new technology in transporting scientists, staff and supplies to and from the Antarctic region.

Much like space, working in remote areas like Antarctica requires months of planning, since researchers cannot just go to the nearest sporting goods store if they need a parka, said Rick Hieb, vice president of information solutions and global services for Lockheed Martin and a former astronaut.

β€œAt least in Antarctica you can go outside and have an oxygen atmosphere you can breathe,” Hieb said.