updated 11/7/2008 7:23:09 PM ET 2008-11-08T00:23:09

NASA said Friday it awarded Lockheed Martin Corp. a $667.3 million contract to provide support for systems used in its new generation of rockets designed for human spaceflight.

NASA said the contract runs from Jan. 1 through Sept. 30, 2012 with two one-year options that would extend the deal to 2014 and raise its total value to $977 million.

Under terms of the agreement, Gaithersburg, Md.-based Lockheed Martin will help NASA transition its operations from the Space Shuttle to the Constellation program.

That program includes the Ares rocket, which NASA intends to use for sending astronauts back to the moon.

NASA said most of the work, which includes support and development of avionics software, space station planning systems, and simulators for crews and flight controllers, will be done at the Johnson Space Center in Houston.

Lockheed shares closed earlier up $1.93, or 2.5 percent, to $78.75.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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