Kennedy Space Center Story

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Chapter 16
1991 Edition

Contractors at KSC

The national space program is a joint undertaking of the federal government, private industry and the educational community. Companies and institutions providing products and services to NASA account for the bulk of the agency's annual budget. At their peak in 1966, the nation's manned space flight programs alone employed more than 300,000 persons, most of them in industrial plants and universities from coast to coast.

Kennedy Space Center staffing illustrates the melding of the country's government and private sectors into a single integrated team to execute launch missions. Of the work force of more than 17,000 engaged in KSC activities, less than 3,000 are federal employees, while the remainder work for resident contractors.

It is NASA policy to award contracts competitively. Contracts for flight hardware--launch vehicles and spacecraft--are let by NASA development centers, which monitor the contractors' efforts throughout design, development, testing and evaluation phases of the various flight articles. The Johnson Space Center, for example, monitors the performance of Rockwell International, the firm chosen by NASA to design and build the Space Shuffle orbiter. The Kennedy Space Center usually employs the same contractors, at least initially, to assist in checking out, assembling, testing and launching the flight hardware once it arrives at the spaceport.

KSC also awards contracts for support services. These contractors do not build a product, but they provide specialized services such as technical and administrative communications, instrumentation, facilities engineering, and housekeeping. Unlike hardware or element contractors (vehicle stages, guidance systems, spacecraft, etc.), which are usually chosen for the life of a particular program, support contractors are selected for definite time periods, of three to 10 years in most cases.

KSC's Industry Assistance Office is the primary interface with new companies seeking to do business at KSC. The office receives and opens bids, arranges demonstrations by companies at KSC, sponsors off-site business procurement conferences and maintains a computerized bidders' source list. Each year KSC sponsors a procurement briefing to inform industry of upcoming contract opportunities at the Center, an initiative begun at KSC in 1982 and since adopted by other NASA Centers.

Many support function contracts, such as data processing, mail delivery, library and custodial services, are reserved for small firms. Both NASA and NASA contractors at the Center seek to assure small business and minority-owned companies a role in the nation's space program. The Industry Assistance Office participates in and sponsors industry conferences and briefings at both the state and local level. KSC is the only NASA Center which honors its small business contractors with annual awards.

Ensuring equal opportunity for all KSC employees, both contractor and civil service, is the charter of the Equal Opportunity Program Office. This office is responsible for developing and administering NASA's equal opportunity policy at the Center. A variety of services are available, including training, counseling, referral or intervention. The office is staffed with a director, a federal women's program manager, an Hispanic employment program manager, and an affirmative action/complaints coordinator. The federal women's program manager and Hispanic employment program manager are each responsible for working groups whose members represent every major directorate at KSC. Through these working groups, KSC management is kept informed of the concerns of women and Hispanic employees.

Sometimes misidentified as a member of the contractor work force is the company which operates the KSC visitors center, Spaceport USA. TW Recreational Services Inc. is actually a concessionaire. While a visit to the popular tourist attraction is free, there is a small fee for taking a bus tour of KSC or Cape Canaveral, and for one of the film experiences offered. The concessionaire makes a profit and, at the same time, invests funds in construction of additional facilities and exhibits.

Contractor organizations have been assimilated into the local community just as they have become integral elements of Kennedy Space Center. They participate in community affairs, contribute to charities and take active roles in scientific and technical societies which have local chapters and which are attracted to the area's space environment for regional and national meetings.

To promote team spirit and enhance morale among government and contractor personnel, the activities of the Kennedy Athletic, Recreational and Social Organization, or KARS, sponsored by the NASA-KSC Exchange Council, are open to all Center employees. This includes bowling and softball leagues, golf matches, skeet shooting, boating and many other group activities.

KARS has also developed two recreational areas, which offer facilities for such outdoor pastimes as camping, fishing, racquetball, tennis, and softball. KARS Park I is located in the southern area of the Center along the Banana River, and KARS Park II is located north of it along State Road 3, west of the KSC Industrial Area. Exchange Council projects are operated on nonappropriated funds derived primarily through receipts from cafeteria and vending machine operations.

The following list is representative of the types of activities contractors and subcontractors perform at KSC:

All World Travel - on-site travel service

Atlantic Technical Services - mail and distribution services

BAMSI Inc. - operations and maintenance services

Bechtel National Inc. - architectural and engineering services

The Bionetics Corp., Biomedical and Environmental Laboratories, and Shuttle Calibration Laboratories - laboratory and environmental support services; standards and calibration

Boeing Technical Operations Inc., Aerospace Operations - ground system operations, automated management, Spacelab experiment integration support

Computer Sciences Corp., TICS Project - Shuttle inventory management, communications and instrumentation support, office automation

Ebon Research Systems - reliability and quality assurance services for safety engineering p operations base Inc. Florida> General Dynamics Space Systems Div. - Atlas-Centaur launch operations, support and engineering activities

GTE Automatic - administrative telephone service

Honeywell Federal Systems Inc. - computer operations and maintenance

IBM Corp. - systems engineering and software for Launch Processing System

Lockheed Space Operations Co. - Shuttle processing

McDonnell Douglas Space Systems Co. (Cape side and KSC) - payload processing and ground operations

Martin Marietta Manned Space Systems - manufacture and checkout of Shuttle external tank

New World Services Inc. - library services

RCA International Service Co. - communications and instrumentation support services

Reynolds, Smith and Hills - architectural and engineering services

Rockwell International Corp., Rocketdyne Div. - manufacture and checkout of Space Shuttle main engines

Rockwell International Corp., Space Transportation Systems Div. - manufacture of and logistics support for orbiter

Specialty Maintenance and Construction Inc. - design and construction services

Sun Coast Services Inc. - food service concession agreement

TGS Technology Inc. - photographic services

Teledyne Brown Engineering - payload integration operations

TRW Defense Systems Group, TRW Space and Technology Group - safety, reliability and quality engineering, and defense and space systems

Unified Services Inc. - custodial support

United Technologies Corp., Chemical Systems Div., and USBI - separation motors on Shuttle solid rocket boosters; design, assembly and refurbishment of booster non-motor segments

Wiltech Corp. of Florida Inc. - component refurbishment and chemical analysis services


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