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NASA Administrator Bolden Visits ATA Offices

ATA Engineering hosts Google+ Hangout event with NASA and SBA

SAN DIEGO, Calif., Oct. 1 2012 – In the wake of the landing of Curiosity on Mars, ATA’s contributions to the success of the NASA rover were recognized by NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden and SBA Administrator Karen Mills. Along with a personal visit from Charlie Bolden to ATA’s Herndon, Virginia office, ATA participated in a video conference with SBA Administrator Mills. The event was webcast live for press and interested viewers on September 19, 2012.

The group video chat highlighted the importance of innovative small businesses like ATA to NASA missions. The chat also allowed ATA engineers to share some of their work on the testing and analysis of the rover’s entry, descent, and landing phase—dubbed the “seven minutes of terror”—and a number of other rover systems.

An example of this work involved the rover’s wheels, which had to be able to survive landing on rough, rocky slopes in case Curiosity did not land on perfectly flat ground. To ensure success even in the event of a less-than-perfect landing, ATA simulated thousands of different landing configurations and verified the structure from a strength and stress standpoint.

Describing this sort of work as “where the rubber meets the road,” Administrator Bolden touted the ability of ATA, as well as other small businesses, to meet the challenges in NASA’s future. You can watch the recorded video chat by clicking here, or read NASA’s press release covering this event here.

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