Sierra Nevada Corporation Awarded By NASA For Work On Advanced Plant Habitat

APH prototype with dwarf wheat and Arabidopsis. Image Credit: Kennedy Space Center NASA

August 24, 2017 – Sierra Nevada Corporation was recognized by NASA with two awards for its exceptional work on the Advanced Plant Habitat (APH) plant growth system, which is currently bringing more fresh food and advanced plant physiology research to space on the International Space Station (ISS).

The prestigious awards include the Exceptional Public Achievement medal honoring two individuals and a group NASA certificate for SNC’s significant team contributions to NASA’s mission:

  • The Exceptional Public Achievement medal was awarded to two key SNC engineers, Gil Tellez and Matt DeMars. The award commends high-quality, innovative approaches that significantly or substantially improve operations, resulting in the advancement of the agency’s goals.

  • The NASA group certificate was given to a select number of SNC engineers, support staff and management for quality results, customer satisfaction, effective management and development of innovative work. Awardees included Adam Anderson, Mike Bourget, Matt DeMars, Jim Harris, Robert Morrow, Robert Richter, Gil Tellez, Sarah Waddill and Russ Wallace.

  • “We’ve always known that SNC is home to many very talented employees doing innovative and excellent work. It’s a great honor to have NASA recognize them as well. I couldn’t be more proud of the team and their dedication to the future of space. APH is a perfect example of SNC leading the future of space exploration,” said Fatih Ozmen, owner and CEO of SNC.

    The APH is a first-of-its-kind, enclosed plant growth system and environmentally controlled chamber. SNC worked with NASA engineers to develop the equipment, which arrived on the ISS earlier this year, and expects to have its first plant test aboard the station this fall.

    “Our team is truly doing incredible science with plant growth in space. It’s exciting enough for us just to be doing the work, so any extra recognition is truly an honor,” said Tom Crabb, vice president of SNC’s Propulsion and Environmental Systems business unit.

    SNC’s Propulsion and Environmental System business area, based in Madison, Wisonsin, and formerly called ORBITEC, has been working on advancing food growth in space for several years and developed the VEGGIE program with NASA, which is currently growing food on the space station.

    The APH award ceremony was held August 24 at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Cape Canaveral, Florida.