The Letter: Chairman of the Board and Our President – CEO
Our accomplishments in FY13 contributed significantly to the unprecedented launch and on-orbit mission success experienced by our customers. Our commitment to mission assurance has become increasingly important in these times of tight budgets and limited resources.
In FY13, Aerospace helped our customers maintain a high operational tempo to successfully deploy the enhanced capabilities developed in recent years. The theme for this year’s annual report – delivering value and innovation – is the focus we used to align with our customers.
Delivering Value – Major Events in 2013
- In FY13, the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program successfully launched eight national security space payloads, all of which benefitted from the disciplined Aerospace launch verification process. During a 90-day period, the EELV program executed five launches, the most aggressive launch rate in program history.
- The Air Force and NRO continued to show significant interest in launching small scientific and experimental payloads at a low cost. By applying innovative simulation tools, Aerospace provided key technical data to support Air Force Space Command Headquarters cost-trade decisions in offloading satellite contact supports from the Air Force Satellite Control Network to commercial providers.
- Aerospace worked extensively with the Air Force New Entrant team and SpaceX representatives over a 15-month period to develop the comprehensive certification plan for the Falcon 9 v1.1 launch system. Our support to monitor the three certification flights is well underway.
- Aerospace provided essential onsite support for the final Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS) program WGS Block II satellites, WGS-5 and -6, successfully launched in May and August 2013, respectively. Processing was conducted in record time, and the government industry team launched both satellites within 75 days.
- The highest levels of government requested Aerospace work on a variety of studies on new architectures and strategies to address the pressing problem of avoiding costs while meeting new threats to our space systems. Topics included hosting additional sensors and payloads on satellites, recommending bulk buys where appropriate, and supporting multiple satellite launches on single launch vehicles.
- Aerospace received the 2013 Theodore von Karman Award for outstanding contribution to national defense in the field of aerospace science and engineering.
Delivering innovation is defined by our efforts to help architect future systems within the budget constraints that are most likely to exist. We partnered with our customers in the development of highly efficient space systems and the technologies that support them to meet the continually evolving needs of the nation for supremely capable systems at lower cost. Creating an environment where innovation can flourish is a critical part of developing our workforce. Our employees are exposed on a regular basis to opportunities to solve difficult problems, take smart risks, experiment, and share their results across the enterprise. This approach to innovation ultimately benefits our customers and end users alike. An example of this type of innovation is the Global Positioning System (GPS), where we continuously retrofit a constellation of satellites so that it functions in a new way, while the system remains in operation. The Aerospace PicoSat team has continuously built innovative spacecraft while meeting immensely restrictive budget and scheduling requirements. The team has designed, built, and flown 20 spacecraft that have changed the face of the aerospace industry and have created a multitude of new opportunities by challenging convention and boldly pushing technology forward.
Our ability to attract world-class talent and our commitment to invest in our employees with continuous learning opportunities has enabled our success. Our investment in technical tools and capabilities in the area of national security space has provided great dividends. In addition, we expanded our knowledge and expertise across the civil and commercial space enterprise to include our work with NASA, NOAA, and other agencies. This allowed us to expand our expertise to help solve problems in the national interest and promote a stronger industrial base. An example of this type of engagement was the role Aerospace played with the NASA Ames Research Center in the successful Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) mission.
We anticipate that federal budget pressures will persist in FY14, and we are committed to working closely with our customers to find cost-effective ways to deliver efficient and affordable capabilities. We will continue to work to reduce costs by leveraging our partnerships with government, commercial, and civil space customers to propose new approaches to the problem. The real challenge, which will persist well into the future, is to help our customers increase resiliency and lower lifecycle cost at the same time.
Our work this past year has been both challenging and rewarding for our company and the entire national security space community. In all of our efforts, we will continue to adhere to our corporate values – Dedication to Mission Success, Technical Excellence, Commitment to Our People, Integrity, and Objectivity – to ensure we deliver the highest possible value and innovation to our customers.
|Peter B. Teets
Chairman of the Board
|Dr. Wanda M. Austin
President and CEO