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Dynetics Unveils Lunar Lander Module Mockup

Dynetics recently unveiled a test version of its full-scale lunar lander that the company hopes will take people to the moon.

The Dynetics test article will be used for initial evaluations for NASA’s Artemis program,, Dynetics said in a statement. The Dynetics team will use the test article for analysis, crew module accommodations, placement and orientation of various components and overall habitability.

The mockup includes the crew module, autonomous logistics platform for all-moon cargo access, ascent and descent propellant tanks and deployable solar arrays. This low-slung design could allow for easier and safer access to the lunar surface.

The full-scale lunar landing system mockup will be used for testing for NASA’s Artemis program. (Dynetics Photo)

“Our team is pleased to bring this system to life,” Kim Doering, Dynetics Vice President of Space Systems, said in a statement. “Our reusable, sustainable approach is ready to support a safe and successful hardware delivery for NASA’s mission.”

The focus of the test article rests on crew interfaces, enabling the team to test crew activities within the module. The flexible design is readily reconfigurable, allowing the human systems integration team and flight crew to review and provide feedback on early concept designs and execute quick-turn iterations.

The test article was constructed just three months after the start of the contract and was built and delivered in collaboration with LSINC, a Huntsville-based subcontractor.

Huntsville-based Dynetics, a wholly owned subsidiary of Leidos, is competing with  is one of three prime contractors selected to design a lander for the NASA’s Artemis Human Landing System Program managed at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center.

Dynetics; SpaceX; and The National Team, led by Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin, were awarded contracts in April totalling $967 million to build the landing systems.

 

Year-to-Date: Huntsville Area has Seen More Than $1 Billion in New Capital Investment and 850 New Jobs

Did someone say there is an economic downturn due to the COVID-19 pandemic?

Well, the facts on the ground do not bear that out here, according to the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber of Commerce. 

“With COVID-19, this has certainly been a challenging year, but in spite of all that is happening, Huntsville still continues to see job growth in all parts of our City,” said Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle. “Whether it’s Torch Technologies in South Huntsville, Dynetics in Cummings Research Park, or TriRx in Chase Industrial Park, there are buildings going up and sites being delivered.

“When you combine that with the ongoing work at North Huntsville Industrial Park with Facebook and Toyota and the numerous projects at Mazda Toyota, it’s a remarkable statement to the resiliency of the Huntsville market and its industries.”

Year-to-date economic growth figures show the Huntsville metropolitan region has accrued more than $1 billion in capital investments from new commercial projects, company expansions, and from companies that have increased the scope of previously announced projects in 2020. That growth will also result in 852 new jobs across the region.

“Throughout 2020, Madison County and Huntsville have continued the work in bringing new and innovative business and industry to our community while also supporting expansions among our industry partners,” said Madison County Commission Chairman Dale Strong. “Our diverse economy continues to be robust year after year. With a focus on workforce development the future of the Rocket City and Redstone Arsenal will continue to drive the economy of Alabama and southern Tennessee.”

The bulk of the growth will come from four large Huntsville company projects and four smaller, but significant, projects this year. However, due to coronavirus restrictions limiting celebratory groundbreakings, grand openings and open house events, many of these projects have been operating under the public radar.

“We want to celebrate every expansion, but this year, it has been challenging to do that in a safe way,” said Lucia Cape, the Chamber’s senior vice president of economic development. “These companies are important to our community and to the people they employ, and we want to recognize their growth.” 

Rendering shows the Freedom-Torch-Invariant facility from the south parking lot.

Torch Technologies leads with $32.3 million in investment on two recent expansion projects that will bring 120 new jobs to Huntsville. 

First announced in April 2018, Torch has completed its Technology Integration and Prototyping Center (TIPC) with two-story office space and an attached 10,000-square-foot high-bay facility at the corner of Chris Drive and Vermont Road in South Huntsville. Constructed by its sister company, Freedom Real Estate & Capital, the center includes a 35,000 square-foot lab and solutions facility.

According to board member and Torch President & CEO John Watson the new facility will allow Torch to take on projects of greater complexity.

“These projects will range from developing instruments that will completely change how warhead testing is accomplished, to re-engineering products that protect our nation,” Watson said.

The second Torch expansion is part of a partnership with the Invariant, a Huntsville-based engineering services and software development company founded in 2001. 

Invariant President David Anderson: “We have been neighbors with Freedom Real Estate and Torch Technologies for several years and look forward to continuing those relationships.” (Rendering/Invariant)

Invariant is investing $430,000 in a 92,000 square-foot facility as part of a mixed-use facility being built by Freedom in South Huntsville. 

The facility will consist of office, research, development, and manufacturing space. They quietly broke ground in May and expect the facility to be complete by next summer. Invariant’s growth will produce 23 new jobs.

“We are excited to grow and expand into this new facility that will provide our employees the resources needed to ensure quality services and products are delivered to our customers,” said Invariant President David Anderson. “We are proud to be a part of Huntsville’s continuing success. We have been neighbors with Freedom Real Estate and Torch Technologies for several years and look forward to continuing those relationships.”

Japan-based freight and logistics provider Nippon Express USA will invest $19.1 million in its location on the campus of Mazda Toyota Manufacturing, U.S.A. over the next two years. They expect to hire more than 100 employees over that period.

After being acquired by Leidos in January, Dynetics will add up to 200 jobs associated with weapon development work, and has hired hundreds of people this year in support of the Human Landing System and other projects. The expansion brings the company’s local employment to 2,740. 

Those four expansions represent a total of 510 new jobs and $71 million in investment.

Four more companies, Aldez, TriRx Pharmaceuticals, Palco Telecommunications and Ridgeview Industries have also significantly expanded in Huntsville.

Aldez is an inventory management and distribution company and has a new facility near the sprawling Mazda Toyota Manufacturing facility. (Photo/Aldez)

Aldez is an inventory management and distribution company with a focus on the automotive industry. Its operations in the SouthPoint Business Park, a couple of miles from the Mazda Toyota plant, will provide maintenance, repair and operations crib management and distribution center services for the MTMUS facility.

“This new, state-of-the-art facility is a strategic move that will allow us to serve MTMUS manufacturing’s newest automotive facility in Huntsville, Limestone County, and enable further growth with their supplier base,” said Aldez COO Mike Byrne. 

“These economic development projects have changed the future of our county by their investments and job creation,” said Limestone County Commission Chairman Collin Daly. “The opportunities provided to our community through these projects will have a lasting impact for years to come.”

TriRx Pharmaceutical Services celebrated its one-year anniversary in Huntsville in May. According to Timothy C. Tyson, chairman and CEO, the Huntsville Liquids, Creams and Ointments Facility has grown from a small number of employees to more than 250 people as of June. 

“We would like to thank our employees, our customers, and our community for their amazing support,” said Tyson. “We continue to be focused on and dedicated to the patients we serve. This has been an exciting year accented by growth with a passion for delivering on our commitment to our customers. And we have just begun.”

Palco Telecommunications, a post-sales supply chain management company started in Huntsville in 1986; and Ridgeview Industries, Inc., a metal stamping and welded assemblies’ manufacturer for automotive OEM, have also among the announced expansions in Huntsville.

“It is exciting to see these quality organizations continuing to grow, building off of their previous successes and adding even more jobs in our community,” said Madison Mayor Paul Finley. “I am excited about the opportunities these companies bring for our region as we continue to grow together.” 

Dynetics to develop NASA’s Artemis Human Lunar Landing System

Huntsville-based Dynetics has been awarded a contract under NASA’s Artemis program to design a Human Landing System and compete to build a system to take the first woman and next man to the lunar surface by 2024.

Dynetics is one of three prime contractors selected.

The Dynetics approach enables near-term reusability and sustainability and provides a commercially supported lander capability. The system’s crew module is designed to accommodate two crew members for missions from lunar orbit to the lunar surface and back, including surface habitation for about a week. Alternatively, it can ferry up to four crew members to or from the lunar surface.

“There’s really no more exciting mission than delivering humans to other planetary bodies,” said Kim Doering, Dynetics vice president of Space Systems. “However, it’s also among the most challenging endeavors, particularly given the goal of landing on the moon in 2024. We believe Dynetics has the recipe for success.”

“As a new member of the Leidos family, Dynetics continues to lead the industry with talented innovators eager to solve today’s complex problems,” said Leidos Chairman and CEO Roger Krone. “NASA’s HLS is truly innovative and one that will revolutionize space travel. We are fully committed to this endeavor and proud to join the team returning Americans to the moon.”

The Dynetics-led team encompasses 17 states and one country. Major components and subsystems will be built, tested and integrated at the Dynetics facility in Decatur.

Dynetics is also delivering hardware to NASA’s Space Launch System Core Stage, Exploration Upper Stage, Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, and the International Space Station.

Dynetics acquired by Leidos for $1.65B

A long-time symbol of Huntsville’s high-tech expertise has been acquired in a $1.65 billion purchase.

Leidos, a Fortune 500 science and technology company, has agreed to acquire privately-owned Dynetics, an industry-leading applied research and national security solutions company, through a combination of cash on hand and incremental debt. The boards of directors of both companies unanimously approved the transaction.

Dynetics is a leading provider of high-technology, mission-critical services and solutions to the U.S. government, with a proven history addressing the nation’s most challenging and technologically advanced missions.

The addition of Dynetics will enhance Leidos’ leadership position across its Defense, Intelligence, and Civil Groups. The transaction will also accelerate opportunities within the Leidos Innovations Center, the company’s innovation engine that researches and develops technologies and solutions to address the most challenging customer requirements.

Once the transaction is completed, Dynetics will operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Leidos. Dynetics’ Chief Executive Officer will lead the subsidiary and report directly to Leidos’ Chief Executive Officer.

“Dynetics is an innovative company with a talented team that will deepen our identity as a national security systems provider and enhance our platform to deliver sustainable, profitable growth,” said Leidos Chairman and CEO Roger Krone. “The addition of Dynetics will significantly increase our capabilities for rapid prototyping and agile system integration and production, enhancing our overall offerings and services to customers.

“With Dynetics, we will build on our existing relationships with key U.S. government customers, particularly in strategically important Huntsville. Dynetics has a powerful suite of services and solutions and an outstanding team of employees driving its success. Together, we will advance our strategy of solving the toughest scientific and engineering problems by leveraging our collective strengths, driven by a shared commitment to innovation. We look forward to welcoming the Dynetics team to Leidos and working together to continue our united mission of excellence, ethics, integrity, and service to customers.”

Dynetics CEO David King said joining Leidos will help them increase their role of serving the government.

“Dynetics is an innovator and an industry leader,” King said. “This transaction will enhance and accelerate our ability to serve customers and ensure their future success. As we have continuously stated, Dynetics is more than just a company, we are a true partner, and today’s announcement will allow us to play an even bigger role serving and meeting the evolving needs of important U.S. Government customers.

“We are excited to be a part of the Leidos team.”

The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of next year.

Compelling Strategic and Operational Benefits

Adds Innovative Capabilities in High Growth Areas: The addition of Dynetics represents an opportunity to grow in new, attractive segments, including hypersonics, space, and weapons solutions. In particular, Dynetics brings top programs in small glide munitions, hypersonics, and directed energy, which will be a complementary fit and growth driver within the Leidos Defense portfolio. The enhanced diversification of products and services will enable Leidos to capitalize on new opportunities for growth.

Expands Rapid Prototyping and Secure Agile Manufacturing & Systems Integration Capabilities: Dynetics’ rapid prototyping and secure agile manufacturing and systems integration capabilities will complement Leidos’ current ability within the LInC to further enhance innovation and help customers achieve their goals. Specifically, Dynetics’ prototyping expertise spans radars, air vehicles, weapons, c-UAS systems, space, and avionics. Through the transaction, Leidos will gain more than 350,000 square feet of production space, which will support full-cycle product development capabilities from concept through assembly, test and production.

Bolsters Footprint in Strategic Huntsville Location: Dynetics’ location in Huntsville builds on Leidos’ current presence in this strategically important city. Dynetics’ Huntsville headquarters provides close proximity to key customers and a strong campus environment with co-located engineering, manufacturing and test capabilities. The talented team at Dynetics also brings deep and well-established customer and community connections.

Expands Relationships with Existing Customers: Dynetics brings strong customer relationships that will build on Leidos’ existing relationships, including with the U.S. Army, Defense Intelligence Agency, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, U.S. Army Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office and United States Special Operations Command. This will provide an opportunity for Leidos to grow its opportunity space with current customers, particularly in Huntsville.

Enhances Talent to Provide Value for Customers: With the addition of Dynetics’ more than 1,000 engineers and 1,000 technical specialists, Leidos will have greater technical expertise and talent that will benefit its collective customers. The transaction will unite two highly skilled workforces with a strong commitment to serving customers and communities and solving problems.

 

Leidos Live Technology Showcase Rolls into Huntsville

The Leidos Live Technology Showcase rolled into Huntsville this week for a three-day interactive demonstration of the company’s wide-ranging technological capabilities.

The purple 53-foot double-wide semi-truck expanded into a full mobile technology exhibit with augmented reality experiences, virtual reality demonstrations and interactive modules that bring Leidos technology to life.

The Leidos exhibit includes a 3D virtual tour inside the body demonstrating Leidos’ work with peptides in cancer research. (Photo/Steve Babin)

The exhibit arrived Tuesday at the University of Alabama-Huntsville and engineering students experienced Leidos’ IT and cybersecurity solutions.

The tour traveled to the new Leidos headquarters in Cummings Research Park on Wednesday where employees and guests were treated to ice cream and barbeque while touring the interactive exhibits.

On Thursday, it moved to Redstone Arsenal so Leidos customers could also enjoy the experience.

Angela Pounders, the Leidos business development field office manager in Huntsville, said there are some exciting things happening here in Huntsville for the company.

“We work across a broad spectrum and have a lot of business alliances in the areas of healthcare, space, civil intelligence, military, and humanitarian efforts,” Pounders said. “We have employees working in program offices on the Arsenal and we even have people in Anniston supporting FEMA. But one of things I am excited about is that we have the world’s largest supply chain in Antarctica.”

Each exhibit showcases each segment of that spectrum including a 3D virtual tour inside the body demonstrating Leidos’ work with peptides in cancer research.

One of the exhibits consist of augmented reality posters of employees who come to life and start talking to you. The second part of the presentation uses virtual reality goggles to provide a 360-degree virtual look at Leidos’ work in Antarctica. It takes you on a tour of the 100,000 square feet of facilities, some thousands of miles apart in areas that are so desolate, there are no cellphones, hospitals, restaurants or people, except for Leidos workers. Viewers also go under the ice with Antarctic ice swimmers.

Visitors can sit in a simulator for firing machine guns utilizing Leidos software. (Photo/Steve Babin)

Visitors can sit in a simulator for firing machine guns utilizing Leidos software; and participate via big screen in sweeping for and destroying improvised explosive devices on the battlefield anywhere in the world.

Using microwave technology on the front of the vehicle, the exhibit puts you behind the tank or military vehicle so you can identify IEDs on the path ahead and detonate them safely.

A gigantic flat-screen table shows the operational capabilities of robotically designed unmanned surface vessels. Currently in the pilot phase, these USVs can carry a variety of Leidos humanitarian, research, or military sensor packages into treacherous waters and storms where it is too dangerous for the Navy.

“These vessels usually stay out for three months at a time and unlike drones that are controlled remotely by humans, these vessels have no interaction with any humans,” said Dennis Card, Leidos tour manager. “There is only one built right now and it went to Hawaii and back from San Diego. Another one, twice as large is being built and it will go out from Gulfport, Miss.”

One of the interactive demonstrations incorporates a Tetris-like virtualization game that brings the viewer into the conveyor system to store packages bound for the International Space Station.

“We run cargo mission contracts for NASA for all the cargo and resupply efforts going to the International Space Station,” said Suzzanna Martinez, Leidos director of strategic communications. “These resupply orders come from the astronauts and our system packs and stores the cargo for whatever different kind of vessel will be going up.”

A Tetris-like virtualization game brings the viewer into the logistics system of the International Space Station. (Photo/Steve Babin)

In everyday life where no one really knows it, Leidos air traffic control software is used to pick up communications between air traffic towers, to scan luggage, and much more.

Leidos was started by Dr. J. Robert Beyster in 1969. An exact model of his original 1969 Chevrolet Malibu, painted in the famous Leidos purple, is also part of the traveling show and at the end of the tour, will be raffled off to a lucky Leidos employee.

The roadshow also travels with a purple ice cream truck.

“We call it the Leidos Scoop Ice Cream Truck and ice cream socials are a grassroots way of saying thank you to our customers on a nice hot day,” said Martinez. “We take it out to Federal Aviation Administration headquarters for National Aviation Day, and we have taken it to NASA headquarters in Washington, DC for National Space Day and people love it.”

The innovation showcase and its other components are all a part of the company’s 50th anniversary celebration.

Leidos Consolidates MDA Support in Cummings Research Park

After supporting the Missile Defense Agency in Huntsville for more than 15 years, Leidos spent $3 million to retrofit its first physical systems and support center in Huntsville.

Leidos Defense Group President Gerry Fasano. (Leidos Photo/Shileshia Milligan)

The 63,000-square-foot building at 915 Explorer Boulevard in Cummings Research Park consolidates the defense division of the company into one Huntsville location. Defense Group President Gerry Fasano headlined the ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday along with Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle and several foreign military delegations.

“This new facility signifies our continued growth in Huntsville, but it also supports our customers in helping them solve problems from a city and a region known for its innovation,” said Fasano. “We help our customers in the defense industry achieve effective, sustained military advantage … from support for C4 (command, control, communications, and computers/cyber) to cyberspace.

“We are doing that from right here in Huntsville. Let’s keep it local.”

In 2016, Lockheed Services Group took $5 billion and merged it with another $5 billion from Leidos to create a $10 billion organization carrying the Leidos name. The move gave Leidos a much bigger footprint in each of the company’s four major areas of expertise: defense, civil, health and intelligence.

Three of those four groups have roots in Huntsville.

The Leidos team has been part of the Patriot and THAAD missile programs and supports MDA requirements and critical services to the warfighter. The new location features automated test equipment that helps provide those systems to Leidos customers at home and abroad.

“Leidos’ civil division has been contracted to NASA here in Huntsville for several years, providing logistics for all the different materials made for the International Space Station,” said Barry McDaniel, vice president of Maritime for Leidos, overseeing support for all branches of the military including the Army.

“Intelligence is also coming to Huntsville soon because the FBI is here; but our missile defense teams have been scattered. This building is an opportunity to consolidate everything related to the Department of Defense Missile Defense Agency counter unmanned air systems. That includes supporting customers all over the world including the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Israel, and all of Europe.”

Military delegations from Germany and the Netherlands were in attendance.

“It’s not just about what is happening in this building, but we have five other locations and we are about to put more customers in Huntsville,” said Fasano. “That includes technical field support for U.S. Army RQ-7 Shadow unmanned aircraft systems right here at Redstone Arsenal; end-user IT services for ten NASA centers; and end-user IT services for 37,000 Army Corps of Engineers from our corridors right here in Huntsville.”

The RQ-7 Shadow is the Army’s unmanned aerial vehicle, also used by the Australian and Swedish armies for reconnaissance, surveillance, target acquisition, and battle damage assessment.

Fasano also announced the arrival of Leidos Live – the company’s Innovation Virtual Experience coming to Huntsville in November. Leidos Live is an immersive technology lab and showcase on wheels where visitors will find some of Leidos’ top innovations brought to life. Fasano said it is a must-see.

Leidos, the name comes from the word kaleidoscope – the centerpiece of the instrument from which complex problems are seen from every different angle, is an IT and engineering services company. Leidos employs 235 people in Huntsville out of 34,000 in every state and more than 30 countries.

“To the Leidos team, we are so delighted to see the growth and the expansion and all the things that have happened here that make our economy move forward,” said Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle. “Five years ago, we started with a very small Leidos group. Today you are threefold, and it’s a story told about Huntsville time and time again – companies throughout Research Park and throughout this city who are growing organically, growing where they are, getting bigger and bigger. Leidos has grown so much they needed a new building.

“We are so glad to be able to help them build it.”