This post was originally published on this site

Feb. 8 (UPI) — The U.S. Air Force has awarded a $428.8 million contract to Northrop Grumman for two payloads for the Enhanced Polar System’s satellites.

The two EPS constellation satellites operate in highly elliptical orbits, according to Northrop Grumman.

They will succeed the current Interim Polar System and work in conjunction with another EHF SATCOM system, the company said.

The EPS-R EHF XDR payloads will “prevent a Military Satellite Communications mission gap in the Polar region,” the Department of Defense said in a release.

Work will be performed at Grumman’s Aerospace Systems’ Space Park in Redondo Beach, Calif., and is expected to be completed by December 2022.

So, far $5 million was obligated from Fiscal 2017 research and development funds, and $15 million in fiscal 2018 research and development funds.

The contracting agency is the Space and Missile Systems Center, Military Satellite Communications Directorate at the Los Angeles Air Force Base.