Ciber gets aerospace contract

NASA Engineering and Safety Center

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The National Institute of Aerospace has tapped Ciber to help build an academy for training a new generation of engineers through the NASA Engineering and Safety Center (NESC).

Ciber, an information technology consulting company based in Colorado, has a three-year contract to develop the NESC Academy’s curriculum. The academy will have instructor-led and Web-based training components. NASA created NESC following the space shuttle Columbia accident as an independent technical resource.

The academy’s key mission is to preserve the knowledge of veteran NASA scientists and engineers. The National Institute of Aerospace, an NESC contractor, and Ciber are in the process of taping interviews with the organization’s senior staffers. They will collect information in areas ranging from life support systems to robotic flight operations.

“We’re trying to capture the experience of a lot of experts who have been with the space program as engineers and scientists from the beginning,” said Bob Baxter, vice president of the Training Technology Group in Ciber’s Remtech Services division.

One interviewee is Henry Rotter, a 42-year NASA employee who has worked on the Apollo and shuttle programs. The interview became the basis for the NESC Academy’s first classroom training session, held last month.

In the next two years, 15 NASA experts will be interviewed. Marcia Gibson, NESC Academy program director, said the task is to “capture their stories and convert those into lessons that we can present and take our students through.”

Portions of the interviews and course materials will be available on the academy’s Web site.

Ciber officials believe the NESC Academy project has relevance for government and commercial organizations, many of whose skilled workers are nearing retirement.

“The Department of Energy, where you have a lot of people who have been around for a long time in engineering and scientific fields, is probably running into the same issue,” said Deborah Scott, president of Ciber’s Remtech Services.

The NESC Academy was created through a partnership among the National Institute of Aerospace, NASA’s Langley Research Center, Ciber and NESC.

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