Avatar Pride

A few members of the Avatar team show off their new company shirts!


Discovery Flyout Employee Bus Pass Winners

Two employees from Avatar, Fred Simmler and Jim Byrne, were lucky enough to receive bus passes to view the Shuttle on the 747 before its final journey to Washington, D.C.

Below, Fred shares his experience through photographs, while Jim shares a few words he has written about the day.


Farewell to Discovery  – by Jim Byrne

I awoke at 4:30 in the morning to witness the departure of a dear friend of mine.  I arrived at the Shuttle Landing Facility runway viewing site just before sunrise on a beautiful Florida morning.   I estimated close to 1000 people gathered to witness the departure of the Space Shuttle Discovery.  Excitement and anticipation was in the air for a chance to see Discovery fly one final mission.  She would soon be on route to the Smithsonian Institution for permanent display and retirement.  I had the pleasure of working as a propulsion engineer on Space Shuttle orbiters for about 12 years.  Working hands on with the orbiters, including launch and landing operations, was a special experience that I will always treasure.  I grew up with the Space Shuttle.  I was only 9 during Columbia’s first flight in 1981, and 13 for Discovery’s first flight in 1984.  Watching the launches and landings of Discovery in the 80’s and early 90’s helped motivate me to pursue a career in aerospace engineering.  When I had the opportunity to come and work on the program in 1999 it was a dream come true.  I am excited that the public will have an opportunity to see a space flown orbiter up close and personal.   It is my hope that that those who visit our old friend Discovery are just as inspired as I was by her to continue her legacy of human space exploration.

SAIC Appreciation Award

Congratulations to David Connolly! He has received a Kennedy LX Support (KLXS) Certificate of Appreciation from SAIC for his support in the difficult Communications Project Manager position. When the Communication Element Integration Team Project Manager retired, Dave stepped in and temporarily took over all of his duties until a replacement PM was available. He was fairly new to the organization at the time, and in addition, many new programmatic activities had just begun. It was a very demanding position, and Dave approached his duties in a conscientious and meticulous way.

Thank you for representing Avatar in such a positive way, Dave! We are proud of your accomplishments in this challenging role.

Paper by James Gray Selected for 63rd International Aeronautical Congress

The IAF International Programme Committee recently selected an abstract submitted by  Avatar’s KLXS contract Program Director, James Gray, for presentation at the 63rd International Aeronautical Congress to be held in Naples, Italy in October, 2012.   The paper, entitled “Kennedy Space Center:  Creating a Spaceport Reality from the Dreams of Many”, is scheduled to be presented at the Space Transportation Solutions and Innovations Symposium.  Congratulations, James!

Executive Safety Forum Award

Congratulations to Avatar employee Fremont Bassett! He was selected to receive an Executive Safety Forum Award.

Mr. Bassett pictured here with KSC Director Bob Cabana.

Avatar Contracts

Avatar is excited to share news about some of our new and exciting work opportunities!

Avatar was selected to provide acquisition logistics support to the KLXS team.   Our personnel are working the transition of the Shuttle assets as well as conducting long range planning for addressing reduced life cycle costs for maintaining the next generation human exploration launch system.

Avatar was also awarded two new positions on the KLXS contract to provide launch vehicle and spacecraft integration with the ground infrastructure. Our engineers  will  prepare GSDO for the upcoming Systems Requirements Review and Systems Definition Review and ensure Program integration with the Space Launch System and Orion Program Offices.

Avatar is pleased to announce that option year 2 on the KLXS contract was awarded. It will be the 4th year of our outstanding partnership with SAIC and the NASA KSC LX office.

In part because of these new opportunities, the Avatar family has expanded to 12 employees! We hope to see continued growth and development for the company throughout 2012.


Partnership with Brevard Workforce

Avatar has recently partnered with Brevard Workforce, an organization that is working to find new job opportunites for displaced aerospace workers.  We are happy to announce that we have hired four individuals through this program! These new employees will receive training from Avatar to develop new skills, and have been placed into positions that will help lay the groundwork for the next generation of human space flight.

Congratulations to Fremont Bassett!

Avatar employee Fremont “Freebie” Bassett was nominated for Volunteer of the Year in the Florida Today Volunteer Recognition Awards!

Bassett is the founder of a non-profit organization called Computers for Education, comprised of around 20 volunteers who refurbish and donate computers to schools and other organizations in the Space Coast community.  Bassett and his group of volunteers have donated an astonishing 16,000+ computers to over 115 organizations. In addition, Computers for Education has taught over hundreds of people how to build and operate computers. We are extremely proud of Fremont for his outstanding contributions to the community!

To read more about the organization, make a donation, or sign up to volunteer, please visit the Computers for Education website.



Summer internship: experiences you can’t get in a classroom

Avatar Intern Program tour    Avatar Intern Program Kennedy Space Center

For Lauren Woodbridge, a summer internship provides experiences she’ll never get in a classroom. A computer science major at the University of South Florida, Lauren worked with Avatar this summer supporting configuration/data management and doing Sharepoint development. In her position, Lauren is involved with determining the requirements and practices for information management such as the document review process and records management.

“My internship with Avatar has been such a rewarding experience,” says Lauren Woodbridge. “I’ve had so much fun working at Kennedy Space Center in the professional environment – in regards to both office and launch operations. Avatar has been very good to us!”

Embry Riddle student gains new perspective

Avatar Intern at Kennedy Space Center  Space Shuttle Atlantis

Matthew Perry wasn’t sure what to expect when he began his Internship with Avatar this summer, but he was pleased he was able to get a position that fit him perfectly. An aerospace engineering major at Embry Riddle University, Matt has supported Operations Integration MPCV to Ground Systems Mockup Development. In this job, he spends most of his time in the Space Station Processing Facility supporting the mockup effort of the MPCV spacecraft.

“This assignment has provided me with an entirely new perspective on the engineering and design process,” says Matt Perry. “These models have shown me that even the best designs or processes on paper may be extremely challenging to execute in the field. Experiences like this will give me an edge when I graduate.”