PHOENIX – The Aerospace Corp. won one of its largest NASA contracts to date, an engineering, evaluation and testing support contract with a maximum potential value of $621 million over nine years.

Under the sole source contract for the NASA-wide Specialized Engineering, Evaluation and Test Services (NSEETS) program, Aerospace Corp. will lend support, which may include staff, for focused science and technology studies, advanced systems architecture, systems engineering and independent reviews. Work under the contract is set to begin Oct. 1.

The NSEETS contract announced Aug. 19 carries on work Aerospace Corp. began performing in 2011.

“We’re delighted to continue delivering critical engineering, evaluation, and test services to NASA that will advance and shape the future of our nation’s space exploration, science and technology over the next decade,” Edward Swallow, Aerospace Corp. Civil Systems Group senior vice president, said in a statement. “As the leading federally funded research and development center operator for space, our unique technical expertise and objective analysis align well with NASA’s needs as it opens an exciting era of vital missions.”

Specifically, Aerospace Corp. will assist NASA with management, scientific and technical studies, including defining payloads to meet scientific goals and analyzing the feasibility of instruments, spacecraft and designs.

“We’re excited to continue our long-term relationship with NASA,” Ron Birk, Aerospace Corp. Civil Systems Group development director, said in a statement. “Beginning with Mercury-Atlas and Gemini-Titan, through current Space Launch System (SLS) and Orion developments, and on to future exploration and science programs, Aerospace is ready to shape the future with NASA to assure mission success, insert commercial innovations, conduct rapid prototyping, and integrate enterprise architectures to return to the Moon, Mars, and beyond.”

In 2011, Aerospace Corp. won five NASA cost-plus-fixed-fee contracts for similar work. The combined maximum value of the 2011 contracts was nearly $658.3 million. Under those contracts, the Aerospace Corp. offered independent assessments of NASA programs, including evaluating technical risk, cost assessments, schedules and safety for NASA Headquarters, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA Ames Research Center, NASA Johnson Space Center, Glenn Research Center, NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center (then known as Dryden), NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, NASA Stennis Space Center and NASA Langley Research Center.

A large team of engineers and scientists who support ongoing NASA missions along with Aerospace CEO Steve Isakowitz deserve credit for the new contract, Swallow said by email. “Our insight from across the entire space enterprise, in-depth technical capabilities in our laboratories and our experienced engineering team uniquely qualifies us to provide advanced support to our customers that is cost-effective, independent and unbiased,” he added.

Isakowitz, who took the helm of Aerospace Corp. in 2016 served previously as White House Office of Management and Budget science and space programs branch chief, where he oversaw federal science and technology programs including NASA’s.

With about 4,000 employees based in California, New Mexico, Colorado and Washington, D.C., the nonprofit Aerospace Corp. operates a federally funded research and development center.

Debra Werner is a correspondent for SpaceNews based in San Francisco. Debra earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of California, Berkeley, and a master’s degree in Journalism from Northwestern University. She...