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Report: Military space spending soars

By Richard Stenger

Drawing of one of the proposed Space Based Infrared System High satellites
Drawing of one of the proposed Space Based Infrared System High satellites

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(CNN) -- The Pentagon earmarked at least $4.22 billion on space-related projects this year, well more than double its total from the year before, according to an aerospace and defense consulting firm study released Monday.

Most of the unclassified allotments in fiscal year 2002, which ended September 30, were due to beefed up spending on missile defense related research and development, the Teal Group reported.

Lockheed Martin Space Systems, for example, was awarded $2.15 billion to restructure its proposed system to track ballistic missiles and detect nuclear detonations.

Known as Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) High, it would place four satellites in geostationary Earth orbit and two more in highly elliptical orbits.

But technical glitches and cost overruns have plagued the program. And its scheduled 2002 launch will likely be delayed until at least 2004.

In all, the Defense Department dispensed contracts to 32 companies and 31 corporate subsidiaries this year, including joint ventures, Teal Group researchers said.

The smallest 2002 earmark was $10,000 to ADC International for work on the Defense Information System's Agency's International Maritime Satellite Network.

In 2001, the total military spending on unclassified space contracts was $1.56 billion. The Fairfax, Virginia-based Teal Group presented the findings at the World Space Congress in Houston, Texas.

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