APT selected as NASA KSC Small Business Prime Contractor of the Year

For Immediate Release:  Our APT SMASS III team at Kennedy Space Center, FL, has won NASA – National Aeronautics and Space Administration Small Business Prime Contractor of the Year Award! The NASA Small Business Industry Awards (SBIA) recognize the outstanding Small Business Prime Contractor, Small Business Subcontractor, Large Business Prime Contractor, and Mentor-Protégé Agreement that support NASA in achieving its mission.

The award citation reads: “All involved from the first line employees to the company Corporate level are to be highly praised as the contractor was selected as KSC’s Fiscal Year 2020 Small Business Prime Contractor of the Year in recognition of their superior performance on the SMASS III contract. The contractor’s efforts have proven to be invaluable as they have consistently performed at the highest level and routinely going above and beyond what is required to ensure the success of the Government and its partners. SMASS III’s diligence, pursuit of excellence, and responsiveness in executing their role within SMA embodies the spirit of this award.”

This is a huge honor for our employee-owned ESOP company and we are proud of all the hard work that made this very prestigious award possible!

John R. Fellows,
Chief Executive Officer
A-P-T Research, Inc.
“Providing Safe Solutions”

Stacking Complete for Twin Space Launch System Rocket Boosters

APT is proud to be a part of this program!
Stacking Complete for Twin Space Launch System Rocket Boosters

Stacking is complete for the twin Space Launch System (SLS) solid rocket boosters for NASA’s Artemis I mission. Over several weeks, workers used one of five massive cranes to place 10 booster segments and nose assemblies on the mobile launcher inside the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Engineers with Exploration Ground Systems placed the first segment on Nov. 21, 2020, and continued the process until the final nose assembly was placed on March 2. Prior to the arrival of the core stage, the team will finish installing electrical instrumentation and pyrotechnics, then test the systems on the boosters. When the SLS core stage arrives at Kennedy, technicians will transport it to the VAB, and then stack it on the mobile launcher between the two boosters. The SLS will be the most powerful rocket in the world, producing up to 8.8 million pounds of thrust during its Artemis I launch.

Artemis I will be an uncrewed test of the Orion spacecraft and SLS rocket as an integrated system ahead of crewed flights to the Moon. Under the Artemis program, NASA aims to land the first woman and the next man on the Moon and establish sustainable lunar exploration.

Credit: NASA

International System Safety Society Awards

Scientific Achievement Award

APT is pleased to announce that it received the International System Safety Society (ISSS) Scientific Achievement Award, which recognizes significant contributions to the advancement of system safety through research and development programs. The award was presented as part of the 38th annual ISSS Conference.

The Population Risk for Explosives Transportation by Truck (PRET-T) is a ground-breaking risk management tool developed by APT’s Safety Engineering and Analysis Center in support of the Department of Transportation (DOT) Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA). This software provides a means to determine the risk to people when a route is selected for transportation of explosive materials by truck. PRET-T’s analysis is accomplished through the use of satellite imagery, traffic and population data, and high-fidelity explosives consequence algorithms. APT employees who contributed to this work included Tom Pfitzer, Nina Donath, Katie Byers, Brandon Whitworth, Megan Stroud, Tim Hooker, Emma Montgomery and Michael Civil.

ISSS Engineer of the Year Award

APT is also pleased to announce that employee Rita Turner recently won the International System Safety Society (ISSS) Engineer of the Year Award. The award was presented as part of the 38th annual ISSS Conference.

Ms. Turner is Senior Systems Safety Engineer with 20+ years of experience. With her deep understanding of domain standards, she has contributed to Land and Maritime systems safety. She has also worked to bring younger generations to the profession of system safety.

The International System Safety Society is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting the Safety Professional in the application of Systems Engineering and Systems Management to the process of hazard, safety and risk analysis. The Society is international in scope and draws members from throughout the world. It is affiliated with major corporations, educational institutions and other agencies in the United States and abroad.

Space Nuclear System Safety Training Course

19 January 2021 – 25 February 2021,
12:00pm – 01:30pm (Washington D.C. time),
Live streaming

The course is co-organized with the University of Trento (I) Department of Physics. It consists of 12 modules of 1 hr and ½ each in live streaming. Scheduled 2 x week, during a period of six weeks, starting Tuesday 19 January 2021 and ending Thursday 25 February 2021, 12:00pm-01:30pm (Washington D.C. time)

Course Brochure (PDF)

Registration Fee:
$1500 for non-IAASS member
$1400 for IAASS members
Special discount applies for groups of 6 participants and more from the same organization

NOTE: The course attendance is restricted to citizens of US, EU, NATO, and US allied countries
For more info, email: iaass-courses-workshops-2021@conftool.net

Brevard Buddy Walk

APT is proud to have supported this year’s 18TH Annual Brevard Buddy Walk®! The primary goal of this event is to promote acceptance and inclusion of individuals with Down syndrome living in Brevard county as well as to celebrate their many abilities.

It was a completely different kind of day and event than what any of us expected this year. But thanks to our community, families and partners like YOU, this year’s event was one of our best ever, filled with love and celebration!

Hope you will view our virtual event HERE. And please, feel free to share it with your employees and customers so that they know what WE know—you are an amazing community supporter!

With our thanks and gratitude from all the individuals and families you have helped support,

Amy Van Bergen, Down Syndrome Association of Brevard (formerly FEDS)

VirtualBuddyWalk 2020 from Omni Productions on Vimeo.

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

VIENNA VA, August 18, 2020

The Best for Vets: Employers 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.