Sunday, April 21, 2013

Swords, Plowshares and Engineering

I was awestruck by an innovative collaboration
by Arnold G.

In 1997, Lockheed Martin had just awarded a contract to Energomash, the Russian rocket engine manufacturer, to supply rocket engines for Lockheed Martin's next generation expendable launch vehicle, the Atlas V. I was sent to Moscow as part of a small group of engineers with the task of sitting down with counterparts from Energomash to work out details of integrating their engine with our rocket structure, propellant systems, avionics and other subsystems.

As we sat in offices that dated back to the Soviet era, I couldn't help but be struck by the poignancy of the occasion. Our counterparts had no doubt spent their careers working on programs that would have meant destruction for our way of life, just as I had worked on projects that would have destroyed theirs. Thankfully, those "swords" remained sheathed and our mutual expertise was now being put to use in a peaceful "plowshare" collaboration.

As a result of that initiative, one of the first Atlas V missions launched the Helass Sat II communications satellite which provided live coverage of the 2004 Athens Olympic Games for the enjoyment of people around the world.
Helass Sat II