APT Selected as One of the Nation’s TOP Employers of Veterans

VIENNA VA, August 18, 2020

This year, a total of 164 organizations submitted responses to the Best for Vets: Employers survey that ran from March to July, and 144 made the list. The survey is a highly respected analysis of a company’s efforts to connect with veterans and provide an environment for success.

Best for Vets is editorially independent and focused on culture and policies that cater to military veterans,” says Andrew Tilghman, executive editor at Military Times. “It has become the most trusted resource for transitioning veterans and a coveted honor for employers across the country.

In its 11th year,  Best for Vets: Employers rankings were based on a voluntary survey that included more than 100 questions seeking detailed information based on the individual company’s policies and practices related to veteran recruitment and retention, support for translation of military skills to civilian credentials, support for military spouse employment and accommodations for members of the National Guard and reserves.

Source: sightlinemediagroup.com

APT is proud to have been selected for Military Times Best for Vets: Employers list!

A Historic Moment and Heart-Felt Thank You to our NASA KSC Team

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft is launched from Launch Complex 39A on NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 mission to the International Space Station with NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley onboard, Saturday, May 30, 2020, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The Demo-2 mission is the first launch with astronauts of the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket to the International Space Station as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program. The test flight serves as an end-to-end demonstration of SpaceX’s crew transportation system. Behnken and Hurley launched at 3:22 p.m. EDT on Saturday, May 30, from Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center. A new era of human spaceflight is set to begin as American astronauts once again launch on an American rocket from American soil to low-Earth orbit for the first time since the conclusion of the Space Shuttle Program in 2011. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls & Joel Kowsky)

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley aboard the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft launched from Kennedy Space Center’s historic Launch Pad 39A at 3:22 p.m. EDT. NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 mission to the International Space Station is a critical final flight test of the SpaceX crew transportation system.

Today’s launch also marks the start of the commercial crew era of U.S. human spaceflight.

“I’d like to just acknowledge the incredible work of the people at SpaceX and NASA and everyone who created this technology – what has culminated in this incredible launch today, getting astronauts back to orbit after almost a decade,” said Elon Musk, SpaceX chief engineer. “We need to bring them back safely, and we need to repeat these missions and have this be a regular occurrence. There’s a lot of work to do.”“What a great day for NASA, what a great day for SpaceX, and what a great day for the United States of America,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. “It’s been nine years since we’ve launched American astronauts on American rockets from American soil, and now we have done it again.”

The countdown proceeded smoothly throughout the day, with the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft in good health and the astronauts ready to fly. The wild card – weather — was out of the teams’ control. Today’s liftoff was the mission’s second launch attempt; the first try, on Wednesday, May 27, ended up rescheduled due to unfavorable weather conditions.

At first, today appeared to be setting up with the same issues: rain, electricity in the atmosphere, cumulus clouds.

“We looked at the weather. It didn’t look great, but we looked at the different options that were out there, and we realized how important it was to step through this carefully, weigh the readiness of the hardware and very carefully assess the situation, and be able to clear the gates and milestones along the way,” said Kathy Lueders, manager of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.

Late in the countdown, Launch Weather Officer Mike McAleenan with the U.S. Air Force 45th Weather Squadron reported conditions were “go.” The remaining countdown milestones ticked by quickly, and at 3:22 p.m. EDT, the Falcon 9’s nine Merlin engines ignited. NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 mission was underway.

The Falcon 9 and Crew Dragon performed well on the climb to orbit, and the spacecraft separated from the rocket on time, about 12 minutes into the flight.

“Dragon, chief engineer on Dragon-to-Ground,” SpaceX Chief Engineer Bala Ramamurthy called up to the crew following Crew Dragon spacecraft separation. “Bob, Doug, on behalf of the entire launch team, thanks for flying with Falcon 9 today. We hope you enjoyed the ride and wish you a great mission.”

Behnken replied, “Thanks, Bala. Congratulations to you and the entire team on the first human ride for Falcon 9. And it was incredible. Appreciate all the hard work and thanks for the great ride to space.”

“Proud of you guys and the rest of the team,” Hurley added. “Thank you so much for what you’ve done for us today, putting America back into low-Earth orbit from the Florida coast.”

Having arrived in orbit, Crew Dragon began a 19-hour pursuit of the station, beginning with a phase burn and the mission’s first manual flight test.

“Bob and Doug are already up there accomplishing a lot of the goals of our test mission,” Lueders said. “They got to do their far-field [manual flight] demonstrations. They got to feel what it’s like to use the touchscreens in zero-G. They got to check out all the different parts of the system and liberate their zero-G indicator.”

Crew Dragon will perform a series of phasing maneuvers to gradually approach and autonomously dock with the International Space Station on Sunday, May 31, at approximately 10:29 a.m. EDT.

After a successful docking, hatches between the two spacecraft will be opened at about 12:45 p.m. Crew members Douglas Hurley and Robert Behnken will be welcomed aboard the International Space Station and become members of the Expedition 63 crew. Behnken and Hurley will perform tests on Crew Dragon in addition to conducting research and other tasks with the space station crew.

“Today onboard the [station], the three crew members, Chris Cassidy, Ivan Vagner and Anatoly Ivanishin, are getting ready to have their additional crewmates onboard,” said Kirk Shireman, manager of NASA’s International Space Station Program. “I know they’re very, very excited. There’s lots of work to be done on ISS and I know Bob and Doug, together with the folks on orbit, are really ready to get busy.”

Behnken and Hurley spent years training and taking part in the development of the SpaceX crew transportation system prior to today’s launch.

“I have never seen a crew so calm and focused leading up to a launch as these two were,” said NASA Chief Astronaut Pat Forrester, who has lived with the Demo-2 crew in quarantine inside Kennedy Astronaut Crew Quarters for the past several days. Forrester acknowledged their training and experience certainly played a role in their demeanor, but he believes their calmness also derived from confidence in the teams.

“I really think it’s a demonstration of the trust they had both in the NASA team and the SpaceX team to get them safely to orbit,” he said.

Demo-2 is SpaceX’s final test flight to validate its crew transportation system, including the Crew Dragon, Falcon 9, launch pad and operations capabilities. During the mission, the crew and SpaceX mission controllers will verify the performance of the spacecraft’s environmental control system, displays and control system, maneuvering thrusters, autonomous docking capability, and more.

The Crew Dragon being used for this flight test can stay in orbit about 110 days, and the specific mission duration will be determined once on station based on the readiness of the next commercial crew launch. The operational Crew Dragon spacecraft will be capable of staying in orbit for at least 210 days as a NASA requirement.

At the conclusion of the mission, Behnken and Hurley will board Crew Dragon, which will then autonomously undock, depart the space station, and re-enter Earth’s atmosphere. Upon splashdown off Florida’s Atlantic coast, the crew will be picked up by the SpaceX recovery ship and returned to the dock at Cape Canaveral.

“I am so grateful and proud of our NASA and SpaceX team,” Lueders said. “We’re going to stay vigilant until we bring them safely home.”

Keep up with mission milestones as they unfold on NASA’s International Space Station Blog at https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation.

NASA’s Commercial Crew Program is working with SpaceX and Boeing to design, build, test and operate safe, reliable and cost-effective human transportation systems to low-Earth orbit. Both companies are focused on test missions, including abort system demonstrations and crew flight tests, ahead of regularly flying crew missions to the space station. Both companies’ crewed flights will be the first times in history NASA has sent astronauts to space on systems owned, built, tested and operated by private companies.

Learn more about NASA’s Commercial Crew program at https://www.nasa.gov/commercialcrew.

Source: Anna Heiney, blogs.nasa.gov

APT SMASS continues to provide excellent technical Software Engineering support to NASA Commercial Crew Program (CCP), Ground & Mission Operations (GMO) organization. An APT employee-owner was Designated Lead NASA CCP Sub-system manager for SpaceX Ground Software, led all ground software certification activities for the Demo-1 and Demo-2 Missions, and has a great working relationship with Ground SpaceX Engineers to ensure design, development and testing are performed in accordance with program requirements.

APT SMASS LSP Quality Engineering provided an insight role for NASA assuring the Falcon 9 vehicle for DM-1 leading up to DM-2. QEs consistently generated prompt and comprehensive internal SMA insight records to document SpaceX audit details, findings, and recommended SMA follow-on actions. Provided exceptional insight into SpaceX DM-1 vehicle processing in support of NASA SMA, LSP, and CCP. Maintained a continual presence at KSC Launch Complex 39A. Maintained a comprehensive summary of all KSC generated vehicle issue tickets (200 plus tickets total).

JSC SMAEC II:  APT employees in Houston supported SpaceX Demo-2 as participants in flight hardware design reviews and hazard reports assessments.  Employees also support joint ISS/Dragon operations products like chits and flight note reviews.

APT on Dynetics Artemis Human Landing System Team

Dynetics, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Leidos, has been selected as one of the prime contractors for the Artemis Human Landing System (HLS). NASA plans to land Americans—including the first woman—on the Moon by 2024.

As part of the Safety and Mission Assurance Integrated Product Team (IPT), APT will support System Safety Engineering for Dynetics HLS elements (ALPACA, Crew Module (CM), and Modular Propellant Vehicle (MPV), System Reliability and Maintainability, Software Assurance, and coordinate and oversee software Independent Verification and Validation (IV&V).

Illustration Credits: NASA

The Dynetics team is composed of a broad and diverse set of small and mid-size businesses with industry-recognized space technical expertise, programmatic experience, along with the Government, positioned to excel in all of its assigned roles. The team is specifically built to be fast and responsive in order to minimize schedule and reduce schedule risk.

APT CEO John Fellows remarked, “This certainly is a monumental step forward for both our country and A-P-T Research, Inc.  We take a great deal of pride in assuring the safety of the HLS and in playing such a critical role in one our nation’s crewed space exploration programs.  We definitely are part of history in the making.”

>> Dynetics Press Release: Dynetics to develop NASA’s Artemis Human Lunar Landing System

>> NASA Press Release: NASA Names Companies to Develop Human Landers for Artemis Moon Missions

APT Employee Performing Orion Spacecraft Inspections

Larry Maggie, APT Research, KSC SMASS Contract, performing Orion spacecraft inspections in early 2020 at NASA’s Plum Brook Station.  The Orion spacecraft, consisting of the crew module and European-built service module, has undergone more than three months of testing at NASA’s Plum Brook Station in Sandusky, Ohio, where it was subjected to the extreme temperatures and electromagnetic environment it will experience in the vacuum of space during Artemis missions.


February Giving Committee Update

In February, APT supported a canned food drive and the “Saving Generations” project, collecting items to install energy efficient upgrades for low-income families. The project estimates that most homes can save 20% on monthly utility bills through the application of basic energy efficient upgrades. APT helped by collecting Energy Star LED Light Bulbs for Saving Generations energy efficiency kits.

APT was honored to attend the Boys & Girls Club Youth of the Year luncheon. The Boys & Girls Club of North Alabama Youth of the Year is their premier youth leadership recognition program, designed to foster a new generation of leaders, fully prepared to live, serve, and make an impact in their communities around the world. A group from APT attended the award luncheon and APT’s own Saralyn Dwyer served as a judge for the ceremony.

A small group from APT spent one evening after work helping with projects at the Boys & Girls Club Cavalry STEM Lab. APT helped put together tables, hang white boards and storage shelves, and paint the bathroom. The new lab will give kids the chance to access technology in tangible ways – complete with 3D printers, virtual reality, drones, robotics and tablets.  The lab will allow students to see themselves working with this equipment in the future as STEM professionals.

Brevard Rescue Mission Donation

The APT Space Division Giving Committee chair, Cara Norwood, presented the 2019 check to Stacia Glavas, Brevard Rescue Mission, CEO/ Founder on Tuesday, January 28, 2020.  The Brevard Rescue Mission supports women and children with housing, food, and education.



APT Paper Published in the Journal of Space Safety Engineering

Launch approval using the safety case approach to achieve performance-based requirements

Hiring of Two Key Employee-Owners

A-P-T Research, Inc., is pleased to announce its recent hiring of two key employee-owners – George Gafka and Star Williams.

Mr. Gafka joins the company as Executive Vice President of Safety and Mission Assurance. Prior to joining APT, Mr. Gafka had a distinguished 30-year career at NASA supporting several human spaceflight programs from a number of diverse leadership positions (Chief Engineer, Chief Safety Officer, and S&MA Director) during life-cycle phases spanning from early development to real-time operations.

Over the span of his career, Mr. Gafka received numerous prestigious awards for his leadership and, as an avid believer in continuous learning, he has earned a diverse set of academic degrees:

  • Master of Business Administration, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California, 2014
  • Professional Certificate Aircraft Accident Investigation, Southern California Safety Institute, 2007
  • Master of Space Systems Engineering, Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands, 2006
  • Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering, University of Houston, 1995
  • Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering, University of Texas at Austin, 1991

Mr. Gafka brings a wealth of broad technical and business management knowledge, seasoned experience across many roles and programs, proven critical decision-making judgment, and expert leadership to develop and implement innovative tailored solutions that thoughtfully balance complex competing considerations such as cost, schedule, and safety.

Also joining APT is Star Williams, who will serve as the company’s Human Resources Director. Prior to joining APT, Ms. Williams served as a human resources business partner for Aerojet Rocketdyne. She holds Bachelor’s degrees in both Human Resource Management and Psychology from Athens State University. In addition, she holds an active Society for Human Resource Management Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP) Certification and brings a broad HR skillset to include employee relations, performance management, recruiting, benefits, compensation, and more.

Boys & Girls Club STEM lab gets $20,000 boost from APT Research

Science and technology education for Boys & Girls Club members recently got a boost from employees of a Huntsville business.

APT Research’s employees selected Boys & Girls Club of North Alabama as the recipient of a $20,000 grant from its giving fund. The money will go to launch a STEM lab at the club’s Calvary Teen Center.

A check was recently presented to B&G Club representatives at APT’s annual Thanksgiving luncheon for employees. The STEM lab, designed to increase access to science, technology, engineering and math topics and tools, is expected to open next year.

The APT fund comes from money donated by company employees. APT is a 100 percent employee-owned small business based in Cummings Research Park in Huntsville.

Source: www.al.com