The U.S. Department of Defense announced a dozen contract awards Wednesday -- worth $541.2 million in combined value. Among the larger awards dished out is an $81.7 million cost-plus-award-fee, firm-fixed-price, cost-reimbursable contract awarded to Computer Sciences Corp. (NYSE:CSC).

Similar in scope to a $27-million award granted to defense contractor Exelis last month, this "Eastern Range Technical Services" contract exercises an option to continue CSC's work on operations, maintenance, and sustainment services for "critical range and launch processing systems" supporting space launches overseen by the U.S. Air Force's 45th Space Wing out of Cape Canaveral Air Station. The contract runs through September 30, 2014.

"Ranges" are areas surrounding America's spaceports, over which rockets are expected to fly when departing for space, and into which it is anticipated that debris may fall -- whether intentionally or unintentionally. The "Eastern Range" primarily comprises the areas adjacent to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, but also supports launches from Wallops Flight Facility on the Virginia coast. According to NASA, it extends more than 10,000 miles southeast from the Florida mainland through the South Atlantic and into the Indian Ocean.