Satellite systems procurement: A brief “how-to” guide

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The decision to commission the construction and launch of a satellite system is a multi-year strategic decision for any entity, whether commercial or governmental. Unlike many noncustomized procurements, even ones of similar expense, the procurement is only the initial phase, and after a satellite construction contract is signed the parties embark upon a multi-year collaborative journey to keep the program on schedule, on budget, and within the original performance requirements.

Each satellite manufacturer has its own form of contract, which has been reviewed extensively by its internal risk managers. To reduce procurement time, it is often best to use this form as much as practicable, although competitive procurements may end up starting with the customer’s form of contract. In any event, to get the right satellite for the customer, the Statement of Work (SOW) and technical specifications will require the assistance of specialized outside consultants and will usually number into the thousands of pages…

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