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The Aerospace Corporation

The Aerospace Corporation
Not-for-profit corporation
Industry Aerospace
Founded 1960
Headquarters El Segundo, California, United States
Key people
Steve Isakowitz (President and CEO)
Number of employees
3600
Website www.aerospace.org

The Aerospace Corporation is a California nonprofit corporation that operates a Federally Funded Research and Development Center (FFRDC) headquartered in El Segundo, California. The corporation provides technical guidance and advice on all aspects of space missions to military, civil, and commercial customers to assure space mission success. As the FFRDC for national-security space, Aerospace works closely with organizations such as the United States Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) and the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) to provide "objective technical analyses and assessments for space programs that serve the national interest". Although SMC and NRO are the primary customers, Aerospace also performs work for civil agencies as well as international organizations and governments in the national interest.

On July 1, 1954, the Western Development Division (WDD) of the United States Air Force was established, under the command of Brig. Gen. Bernard A. Schriever. WDD was responsible for the development of the intercontinental ballistic missile. The Ramo-Wooldridge Corporation (RW) was identified as the civilian organization responsible for systems engineering for the ICBM program. Their Space Technology Laboratories (STL) was responsible for all missile tasks. Despite early successes, there was criticism from both government and industry on the role RW played as systems engineer, in particular that RW held a privileged position with the Air Force. In 1958 RW merged with Thompson Products to become TRW and the Space Technology Laboratories became an independent subsidiary of TRW, but concerns regarding conflicts of interest persisted. In September 1959, United States Congress issued House Report 1121 which recommended that STL be converted into a non-profit institution. Congress wanted the establishment of an organization, free from conflict of interest, to aid the Air Force in "applying the full resources of modern science and technology to the problem of achieving those continuing advances in ballistic missiles and military space systems."


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