News - 2011
December 22, 2011—SSAI Wins GMAO Contract at NASA/GSFC
Science Systems and Applications, Inc. (SSAI) is pleased to announce that NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center has selected SSAI to provide science, technology, and research support services to the Global Modeling and Assimilation Office (GMAO) under the GMAO contract. Click here to see the NASA announcement.
The GMAO develops and uses comprehensive models and assimilation systems that support NASA's Earth science research enterprise and contribute to the nation's capabilities in climate, weather, and atmospheric composition prediction. Specifically, the GMAO contract includes support services for:
- Atmospheric data assimilation system development and experimentation
- Atmospheric constituent modeling and data assimilation
- Land surface data assimilation
- Ocean data assimilation system development and experimentation
- Observing system simulation experiments
- Model development
- Systems integration
- Climate simulations, analyses and experimental forecasts
- Visualization of observed and model-generated fields and the publication of scientific results
- Operational system development and maintenance
- Data assimilation system (DAS) data production operation
Dr. Om P. Bahethi, SSAI’s President, observed, “This contract win is a direct result of 34 years of outstanding support to our GSFC customers, including the GMAO for more than 15 years, by our very talented and dedicated staff. We at SSAI are excited and energized, and look forward to extend our support role to GSFC scientists, engineers, and technologists as they conceive and implement the next generation of models, instruments, and missions that will advance our understanding of the Earth and its environment.”
Additional information regarding contract start-up activities, including an Open House, will be posted on this site in the next few days as schedules are firmed up. Please come back to learn about opportunities to join our GMAO team.
December 5, 2011—SSAI Teams Celebrate Successful Launch of NPP Spacecraft
SSAI Teams at GSFC, LaRC and NOAA/NESDIS join our NASA and NOAA customers in celebrating the successful launch of the NPP spacecraft. NPP Satellite launched into the sky above
Vandenberg Air Force Base.
Early on Friday morning, October 28, 2011, the NPOESS Preparatory Project Satellite, known as NPP, launched into a crisp, clear nighttime sky above Vandenberg Air Force Base carrying the nation’s next generation of weather forecasting and climate research instruments atop a Delta II rocket. The NPP satellite orbits Earth every 102 minutes, flying 512 miles above the surface, and capturing data from the Earth’s land, oceans, and atmosphere through a suite of five science instruments, several of which have been supported by SSAI personnel.
The Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite (OMPS) is designed to measure ozone in the upper tropospheric–stratospheric region of the atmosphere, and extends the 40-year ozone climatology records assembled by the SBUV, TOMS/OMI, and SAGE series of experiments. The OMPS instrument is composed of three state-of-the-art hyperspectral imaging spectrometers contained in two sensors, one nadir viewing and the other limb viewing. The nadir sensor provides total column ozone and a low vertical resolution ozone profile while the limb sensor produces high vertical resolution ozone profiles. Under the Laboratory for Atmospheric Sciences (LAS) contract at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, SSAI OMPS staff supported system performance studies during the instrument design, build, and test phases. The expertise of the OMPS staff is now focused on evaluating the suitability of the operational product for climate data records as part of the Ozone PEATE, developing and implementing a complete set of algorithms for each of the three spectrometers, producing limb data products on an operational basis, conducting scientific studies, calibrating the nadir and limb sensors, and supporting on-orbit instrument operations.
Also included in the instrument suite is the Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System Flight Model-5 (CERES FM-5) radiometer, representing the collective contributions of many SSAI scientists and engineers provided through our Science Technology and Research Support Services (STARSS) Contract, which supports the Science and Engineering Directorates at NASA’s Langley Research Center. CERES FM-5 measures radiant energy reflected from the Earth’s surface, atmosphere, and clouds to determine the total amount of energy emitted by the Earth, known as the Earth’s Radiation Budget. This information provides crucial input for comparisons in climate models that determine the differences against incoming radiation for analyzing and understanding the changes in global temperatures. CERES FM-5 joins four other aging CERES instruments already in orbit to ensure the continuity of these measurements that are essential for observing long-term trends in climate. SSAI’s Mission Operations Team, Calibration and Analytical Tools Team, Instrument Integration and Testing Team, Flight Software Engineer, Data Processing Software Developers, and Testing Engineers all worked collaboratively under NASA direction to achieve this remarkable success.
In addition, the SSAI team supporting the Environmental Satellite Processing and Distribution Services (ESPDS) contract with NOAA’s National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS) is responsible for data processing and distribution of dozens of products from NPP and other Earth observing satellites, including measurements of cloud and vegetation cover, ocean color, and sea and land surface temperatures. These products are used by NOAA’s National Weather Service, other federal agencies, state and local governments, and numerous international organizations to derive accurate forecasts, to provide advance warning for severe weather events, and to enable decision support and planning for optimal utilization of natural and anthropogenic resources.
NPP and its powerful suite of instruments are now in orbit. Early data diagnostics indicate that all systems are operable and ready to go!
A group from SSAI participated in a Habitat for Humanity project in Annapolis on Saturday, November 5, helping with final touches to nearly-complete homes. Some of us taped seams and joints of air intake pipes, covering them with mastic for Energy Star requirements. Others were brave enough to work in confined crawl space to provide more energy-saving insulation. Additional participants helped with moving and storing equipment and supplies, and with breaking down fencing. We worked along with volunteers from other organizations and homeowners who were meeting their "sweat equity" requirements. Although we may have acquired some aches and pains from using muscles we generally leave dormant, it was a very satisfying and enjoyable day!
Bob Cornett, Anoop Mehta, Laura McShane,
Mauricio Peredo, and Linda Aguirre with new
homes in the background. Om Bahethi, Jonathan Kelly, Matt DeLand,
Mauricio Peredo, and Bob Cornett, along with
other Habitat volunteers, at the warehouse.
SSAI's Jeremy Werdell has been named to the PACE mission Science Definition Team (SDT). The PACE (Pre-Aerosol, Cloud, ocean Ecosystem) mission, scheduled for a 2019/2020 launch, will extend key ocean biogeochemical, biological, and aerosol climate data records. PACE will be a polar-orbiting mission with an ocean color sensor and an aerosol-cloud polarimeter. The mission will be capable of performing radiometric and polarimetric ocean and atmosphere surveys, returning a range of geophysical data from which properties of the ocean and atmosphere can be produced to maintain a time series of critical climate and Earth system variables. The PACE mission has multiple scientific goals, including making climate-quality global ocean color measurements that are essential for understanding the carbon cycle and global ocean ecology, and how the ocean's role in global biogeochemical (carbon) cycling and ocean ecology both affects and is affected by climate change. Polarimetry measurements would provide extended data records on clouds and aerosols.
The PACE SDT consists of approximately 20 members with expertise in ocean biology, ecology, biogeochemistry, ocean color/optical oceanography, as well as aerosol, cloud, radiation science, and polarimetry. Team members will spend 6-9 months developing the science and technical requirements for the mission.
October 18, 2011—SSAI Staff Contributes to Ozone Layer Investigation
SSAI staff contributes to a seminal NASA-funded investigation documenting an unprecedented depletion of Earth's protective ozone layer above the Arctic last winter and spring caused by an unusually prolonged period of extremely low temperatures in the stratosphere. The study, published in the journal Nature, documents ozone depletion in the Arctic in 2011 that was comparable to "ozone hole" observations in the Antarctic over the last several decades. SSAI scientists and technical professionals have supported NASA's ozone studies over the company's 34-year history. In fact, SSAI's President Dr. Om Bahethi created SSAI following submission of a proposal to NASA to improve ozone retrieval algorithms applied to observations from the Nimbus-4 and Nimbus-7 missions.
October 17, 2011—SSAI's Anoop Mehta Elected as President of the Maryland Space Business Roundtable
Anoop Mehta, SSAI's Chief Financial Officer, was elected President of the Maryland Space Business Roundtable (MSBR). His term, effective October 2011, continues the long-term involvement of SSAI officials in the MSBR. Ron Estes, SSAI's Chief Operating Officer is a past MSBR President, and SSAI officials have served on the MSBR Board of Directors for more than 10 years. The MSBR and similar organizations that promote partnership and communication among personnel from industry, Government, and Academia provide key forums for senior SSAI managers to network with customers and partners, and to promote community efforts that highlight the accomplishments and importance of the work we support for NASA, NOAA, USDA, and other federal agencies. Further, the MSBR has an active education and outreach program that promotes student involvement in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines.
July 18, 2011—(Hampton, VA Area) SSAI Named the "Best Large Company in Hampton Roads"
On Monday, July 18, a small group from SSAI attended Inside Business's "Best Places to Work in Hampton Roads" awards luncheon held at the Norfolk Airport Hilton. Carol Lichti, editor of Inside Business—Hampton Roads Business Journal and event host, recognized more than 20 companies that "go above and beyond for their employees to create a great working environment." About this year's competition, Ms. Lichti stated, "When the economy challenges us, we think it is even more important to see what kinds of things local companies are doing to show they value their employees."
Surpassing our 2010 second-place finish in the Large Company category, SSAI was named the "Best Large Company in Hampton Roads." Our numerous volunteer and community service activities, as well as the "made to order omelets" served by Om and Anoop at the Anniversary Breakfast, were cited as just a few of the reasons SSAI was selected for this top honor.
To be considered for nomination as a Best Place To Work, organizations were asked to submit information about their company culture, compensation and benefits plan, fair and equitable treatment of employees, annual turnover rate, and training opportunities. Company ratings were also based on employee responses to an online survey regarding work environment and job satisfaction.
About SSAI's second Hampton Roads win in two years, Om stated, "We are delighted to have the kind of positive feedback that places us in such an elite group, repeating our 2010 selection. We will use this input, along with SSAI's own upcoming employee survey, to guide further positive changes across the company."
Imagine.... It's 8:00 on a Thursday morning. Instead of the quietly efficient sounds of keyboards tapping and distant phones ringing, you are surrounded by the blare of horns, the shimmying jingle of tambourines, and a stream of hoots and hollers. Such was the experience of the 10 SSAI representatives who attended the seventh annual "Best Places to Work" awards breakfast on June 2 at the Ritz Carlton in Tysons Corner. The festive mood was fitting as the Greater Washington area's top 50 employers were honored by the Washington Business Journal.
The morning team from WTOP broadcast live as the 300 attendees clapped, flipped domroo drums, and watched video clips about what sets each winning company apart as a best place to work. In an SSAI clip, CFO Anoop Mehta stated, "We have a very educated workforce. I think the most important thing to them is for us to provide challenging, interesting work and career growth." Apparently, food and fun are also important, as images of SSAI's President Om Bahethi making omelets and of Lanham employees grooving at the Winter Gala flashed by during a photo montage set to music.
The Best Places to Work winners were selected based on a confidential employee opinion survey conducted by Quantum Market Research, Inc. More than 160 SSAI Lanham employees participated in this year's survey, which resulted in SSAI's ranking as 12th in the Large Business category. According to the Journal, "This year's competition was especially tough. We received more than 300 completed nominations, a record since we began this competition in 2005." Regarding SSAI's win, Om remarked, "This is a tremendous achievement that is attributed to our dedicated and hard-working employees. Thank you for your continued contributions in making SSAI a success and one of the 'Best Places to Work.'