Boeing to build NASA tracking, data relay satellites

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Boeing Co BA.N said on Thursday that NASA has awarded it a contract to develop two Tracking and Data Relay Satellites (TDRS) at a value of $695 million, or $1.2 billion if all options are exercised.

The contract increases Boeing’s satellite backlog to 27 aircraft, the company said in a statement. While one satellite would be ready for launch in 2012, the other would be ready in 2013, Boeing said.

The satellites will replenish NASA’s communication relay network that provides telecommunication links between low orbiting spacecraft and the ground, NASA said in a separate statement.

The contract, which includes options for two more spacecraft, has a basic period of performance that starts in December 2007 and will extend through April 2025 if those options are exercised, NASA said.

Boeing spokeswoman Diana Ball said earlier this month that NASA could award a contract for two TDRS spacecraft before the end of December.

The company has said it is competing for commercial and military space contracts worth $15 billion to $17 billion in 2008, not including classified government work.

Reporting by Aarthi Sivaraman; Editing by Gary Hill