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Three Companies Honored for Contributions, Service to NASA's Marshall Center and Human Spaceflight Mission
Martin Jensen
Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala.
(Phone: 256.544.0034)
News Release: 05-012

NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., has honored three aerospace companies with 2004 Contractor Excellence Awards -- recognizing their contributions to the Marshall Center and NASA's mission of human spaceflight.

ATK Thiokol Propulsion of Brigham City, Utah, is the winner of the large business-product honor; Teledyne Brown Engineering, Inc. of Huntsville received the large business-service award; and Hernandez Engineering, Inc. of Huntsville was recognized in the small business-service category.

"These companies have a vital role with Marshall in achieving NASA's goal of safe human spaceflight," said Marshall Center Director David King. "Their contributions are helping us fulfill the Vision for Space Exploration, and inspiring the next generation of space explorers." The Vision calls for Space Shuttles to return to safe flight to complete the International Space Station, and for human and robotic exploration of the Solar System.

ATK Thiokol supplies the massive, reusable solid rocket motors that are part of the solid rocket booster assemblies, the two silo-shaped rockets on each side of the Space Shuttle on every Shuttle flight. The company was cited by the Marshall Center for reducing the motor cycle time -- the period to prepare the rocket motors for re-use -- by 25 percent over the life of the contract and for saving $16.8 million by restructuring and improving personnel and resource management programs. ATK Thiokol won this award in 2004 for similar contract performance in 2003.

Teledyne Brown Engineering performs payload integration -- scheduling and coordinating payloads or cargo -- for the International Space Station; provides service and support for the operation and maintenance of propellants and other hardware; and furnishes engineering, analytical and integration support to Marshall. Teledyne Brown's award credits the company for saving $15 million in the past four years by controlling overall costs, and for its continuing commitment to safety and quality assurance.

Hernandez Engineering supports Marshall’s Safety and Mission Assurance Directorate -- the organization responsible for the safety, reliability and quality assurance operations of Marshall Center programs. Company personnel served as team members on the investigation into the loss of Columbia and developed electronic data systems to replace directorate paper records and manuals. The data systems resulted in a 5 percent cost savings for the organization.

The Marshall Center will recognize each of the companies in ceremonies during coming weeks.

Companies submit applications for the awards and are evaluated over the last three years of their contracts with the Marshall Center. Judged by Marshall representatives, companies were scored in seven basic areas, including customer satisfaction; contract technical performance; schedule performance; cost performance; management initiatives responsive to NASA's strategic goals; leadership and continuous improvement; and innovative technology breakthroughs.

The honored companies also will be the Marshall Center's 2005 nominees for the George M. Low Award. Named after the former NASA deputy administrator who served from 1969 to 1976, the award is NASA's most prestigious honor for quality and performance in the aerospace industry. The winner of that award will be announced in the spring of 2006.