Comtech Telecommunications will develop and deliver the spacecraft bus for the US Navy’s joint milli-arcsecond pathfinder survey (JMAPS) mission under a $37.9m contract.

The JMAPS spacecraft will host the JMAPS instrument for a three-year mission using Comtech AeroAstro’s Astro 200AS bus.

The JMAPS mission is primarily intended to update the star position catalog for critical national security and civil applications.

Derived from the Department of Defense’s STPSat-1 and STPSat-2 space test programme the Astro 200AS provides a unique stability and accuracy for a vehicle in its size class.

Comtech AeroAstro president Paul Lithgow said the capability offered by this spacecraft enabled a range of new high-value mission and sensor options on an affordable platform that can be rapidly developed and deployed.

The contract, awarded by the US Navy’s Naval Research Laboratory, has options worth $4.2m for post-delivery technical support.

Delivery of the JMAPS space vehicle is scheduled for March 2012.