Two young, high-caliber aerospace companies will combine to deliver customer focus on custom design and fabrication of composite structures. The merger will complement Alliance Spacesystems’ existing robotics, mechanical systems engineering and mechanism capabilities.

PASADENA, CA (March 29, 2006) — Two respected Southern California aerospace innovators — each with active hardware on Mars — today announced an agreement to merge. Alliance Spacesystems, Inc. (ASI), of Pasadena, Calif., and Vision Composites, Inc., of Signal Hill, Calif., will merge to bring together high-caliber engineering and manufacturing expertise on challenging projects ranging from Mars rover robotics and space structures to products for use in applications on Earth.

“Both of our companies have reputations for meeting and exceeding the demands of the most exacting customers,” said ASI president and CEO René Fradet. ASI and Vision have already partnered on several space projects and share many of the same principal customers including NASA, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), the Air Force, Northrop Grumman, Inc., Boeing, and Lockheed Martin Space Systems.

Both ASI and Vision contributed to NASA’s highly successful Mars Exploration Rovers, Spirit and Opportunity. ASI developed and built the agile, instrument-laden robotic arm for each rover, and Vision produced the rovers’ complex equipment deck. The rovers are still operating and returning scientific findings more than two years after their planned three-month missions.

ASI was recently awarded the George M. Low Award, NASA’s premier honor for supplier quality and performance. Vision, a leader in high-performance, low-cost, build-to-print space composite structure fabrication, just received the Gold Supplier Award from Northrop Grumman Space Technology for 100 percent quality and schedule performance for 2005.

End-to-End Space Structure Capabilities

The merger enables ASI and Vision to provide aerospace customers with a single resource for the design and fabrication of composite space structures. ASI is currently JPL’s composite structures partner via a five-year composite structure support contract, and has additionally designed and delivered several optical benches to Raytheon.

Previously ASI had to rely on outside vendors for composites manufacturing, but the merger will enable the company to provide competitive, industry-class solutions for both build-to-print and built-to-specification space structures. “There are very few companies in the marketplace that can provide the capabilities that the merged company can offer and probably no company that can be as agile and cost effective in providing those capabilities,” said Vision president and CEO Ted Cheng.

One-Stop Shop for Space Scientists and Aerospace Customers

The merger especially strengthens ASI as a full-service mechanical resource for a unique group of target customers – principal investigators and other researchers who build instruments for NASA satellites and planetary exploration spacecraft. Already, renowned space optics innovator Malin Space Science Systems, Inc. (, of San Diego, Calif., has entrusted ASI with the job of packaging one-of-a-kind cameras for the Mars Science Laboratory mission, being planned by NASA for launch in 2009.

“Principal investigators creating science instruments often run into difficulty packaging their instruments for integration onto the spacecraft,” said Fradet. “ASI has a wealth of know-how and experience in making instruments flight-ready, on time, helping customers avoid costly fixes or delays. Vision’s expertise in composite space structures further enhances that capability.”

JPL and TRW Heritage

ASI and Vision share a similar pedigree, both originating as startups in 1997 by former employees from famed aerospace leaders. ASI was founded by engineers from NASA’s Pasadena, California-based Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), and Vision Composites was established by engineers from El Segundo-based space satellite giant TRW, Inc. (acquired by Northrop Grumman, Inc. in 2002).

“From our initial contact with ASI a few years ago, we have been amazed at the commonality we share in terms of experience, culture, and commitment to the customer,” said Vision’s Cheng. “Perhaps our backgrounds in coming out of JPL and TRW added to that.” The merger, he said, “should result in a powerful combination that can be effective and leveraged immediately in the market-place.”

ASI CEO Fradet will become the CEO and Vision CEO Cheng will become a vice president of the new company. Both companies’ current facilities will be maintained. ASI’s 14,000- square-foot facility near JPL houses engineering offices and manufacturing facilities geared to robotics and mechanisms manufacture. Cheng will manage work at the 29,000-square-foot former Vision facility in Signal Hill. The merger will be effective on July 1, 2006.

Marketing Contact:

Scott Stanley, Director, Advanced Programs
Ph: (626)-296-1373 x 130

Media Contact:

René Fradet, CEO and President
(626)-296-1373 x 111