NEW YORK – JAN 16, 2014Original Article (LAW360)
NASA has picked aerospace tech firm LJT & Associates Inc. to perform engineering and administrative support work at the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia in a contract worth up to $257 million, the agency said Thursday.
The term of the contract will run up to seven years, depending on NASA's additional choices for the flight center in 2014. LJT will plan, operate and maintain the facilities and grounds, provide engineering, medical and waste disposal services, and manage records and communication at the center, according to NASA. It will also handle chemical and biological laboratory support.
Representatives for NASA and the contractor were not immediately available for comment Thursday.
The Wallops facility sits on Virginia's east coast and serves to launch small rockets, high-altitude balloons and experimental aircraft, including unmanned drones. Wallops has 1,000 NASA employees as well as private contractors on site.
The base is heavily used to launch sounding rockets, or rockets used for research, which carry instruments to take measurements for scientific experiments during suborbital flight.
But recently, it's also been used as a test range, along with NASA's Langley Research Center, for unmanned drones, including NASA's Airborne Subscale Transport Aircraft Research model, the agency said.
"The safe and efficient integration of unmanned aerial systems into the national airspace system is an important national goal, and we at NASA Wallops stand poised and ready to support related testing in the mid-Atlantic region," Wallops Director Bill Wrobel said in a statement last week.
"Wallops' location, instrumentation capabilities, restricted airspace, established safety program and past experience in flying unmanned aerials systems make it a valuable member of the team supporting this great endeavor," he said.
Columbia, Md.-based LJT, which is certified as a small, disadvantaged, veteran-owned business launched in 1994, and supports the Air Force, Navy, the Internal Revenue Service, the Defense Information Systems Agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association and the National Science Foundation.
LJT had a change in leadership in December, after the death of its founder and CEO Leonid Tasheiko.
Robert Conrad, the company's chief operating officer, then took over LJT's reins.