NASA's Mars Pathfinder mission

Three aerospace companies were awarded NASA's highest honor today for the excellence and quality of work they performed on the Mars Pathfinder and other projects for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA.

NASA Administrator Daniel S. Goldin presented the 1998 George M. Low Award to the companies at the 13th annual NASA Continual Improvement and Reinvention Conference on Quality Management in Alexandria, VA. The award is NASA's highest quality and excellence award for contractors and subcontractors and the oldest award for organizational quality.

"These companies exemplify excellence and outstanding achievements that prove beneficial to NASA and the nation's industry," said Goldin.

ILC Dover Inc., Frederica, DE, which specializes in developing high-technology engineered soft goods, received the award for product in the large-business category for work on the development and delivery of the Mars Pathfinder airbag landing system. The company also has a long record of outstanding performance in the development of astronaut spacesuits for extravehicular activity in space.

BST Systems Inc., Plainfield, CT, received the award for product in the small-business category for development of the battery used on the Mars Pathfinder mission's Soujourner rover. The battery lasted more than three times the planned Mars surface-mission duration, 98 Martian days versus the required 30 days.

Advanced Technology Company (ATCO), Pasadena, CA, received the award for service in the small-business category. ATCO is considered a world-class metal joining company, tackling jobs that most organizations consider impossible. The woman-owned company has produced 20 imaging detectors that are operating error-free in space, and has worked on a variety of JPL projects over the past 26 years, including the development of the Wide Field Planetary Camera 1 and 2 for NASA's Hubble Space Telescope.

Two other companies, Allied Signal Technical Services Corporation, Lanham, MD, and DynCorp, Johnson Support Division, Houston, TX, were given the award for service in the large- business category for their work with other NASA centers.

JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA.

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