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December 17, 2018

Vantage Employees Receive NASA Silver Snoopy Award

The NASA Silver Snoopy Award is a special honor awarded to NASA employees and contractors for outstanding achievements related to human flight safety or mission success. The award is given personally by NASA astronauts as it represents the astronauts' own recognition of excellence. Vantage employees William Maul and Paul McMasters were recipients of the award for 2018.

William Maul received the Award for supporting the development of cutting-edge systems health management technologies for launch vehicle systems and subsystems as an onsite contractor at NASA Glenn Research Center (GRC).  Mr. Maul is a highly regarded subject matter expert in the development of Functional Fault Models (FFMs) and is applying his FMM expertise as the technical lead for development of the Integrated Vehicle Failure Model (IVFM), an FFM for the Space Launch System (SLS).  He leads a cross-Agency team responsible for developing the IVFM and using it to analyze the design of SLS mission and fault management capabilities.

Paul McMasters received the Award for providing significant project impact and excellent scheduling leadership in many International Space Station (ISS) research projects over the years.  In his support of the ISS Research Project, he has created the facility utilization schedules that are used to plan ISS operations in the Combustion Integrated Rack (CIR) and the Fluids Integrated Rack (FIR).  He maintains project schedules for up to 10 different projects and provides the roll up to NASA Headquarters.  His outstanding insight helps lower the project’s schedule risks and allows time-saving options to be presented to the project’s management.


Maul (1st Photo) and McRoberts (2nd photo)  are pictured below receiving their awards from Astronaut Dr. Shannon Walker and NASA GRC Center Director Dr. Janet Kavandi.


November 15, 2018

Vantage Employees Receive NASA Exceptional Public Service Medal

The NASA Exceptional Public Service Medal is one of the highest awards in the Agency and represents acknowledgement of significant contributions to NASA's mission and purpose. This prestigious NASA medal is awarded to non-Government individuals for sustained performance that embodies multiple contributions on NASA projects, programs, or initiatives.

Joseph Ogonek, Vantage Partners (VPL) employee and Program Director of the GESS-3 contract at the NASA Glenn Research Center, received the NASA Exceptional Public Service Medal at the NASA Honors Awards Ceremony on September 24, 2018.  Mr. Ogonek received this medal for his exceptional public service in managing the NASA Glenn Engineering and Science Support (GESS-3) contract for the benefit of NASA Glenn, the Agency, and Ohio.

Pictured above is Joseph Ogonek (center) with David D. McBride, Director of NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center and Dr. Janet Kavandi, Director of NASA Glenn Research Center.


Douglas Doza, Vantage Partners employee, also received the NASA Exceptional Public Service Medal at the NASA Honors Awards Ceremony on September 24, 2018.  Mr. Doza received this medal for exceptional public service managing the specialized materials laboratory resulting in significant advancements that have led to improvements of NASA deliverables.

Pictured above is Douglas Doza (center) with David D. McBride, Director of NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center and Dr. Janet Kavandi, Director of NASA Glenn Research Center.


In addition to those receiving the Exceptional Public Service Medals, Vantage Partners was extremely well represented at the NASA Honors Awards Ceremony on September 24th by the following employees:

Silver Achievement Group Medals

Magnetic Materials Development Team

Grant E. Feichter

Joseph Huth

Vladimir Keylin


SCaN Testbed Experiments and Operations Team

Neil S. Adams

David E. Brooks

Marilyn D. Groff

Nicholas S. Tollis


Solar Electric Propulsion Testbed Team

Arthur G. Birchenough

Ryan A. Crawford

Lawrence G. Edwards

Wesley A. Miller

Paul A. Newman

Richard T. Powis

David H. Sicking

Laura C. Spayd

Gregory S. Tollis


Turbulent Heat Flux (THX) Test and Analysis Team

David S. Hervol

Randy J. Locke

John J. Mayer

Kathleen J. Sukel



Group Achievement Awards

Combustion Science Team

Michael D. Cuy

Douglas O. Doza


DGEN380 Aeropropulsion Research Turbofan Team

James L. Buckley

Raymond L. Kaliszewski


Kilopower Project Team

Nissim Lugasy

James L. Sanzi


NASA Electric Aircraft Testbed (NEAT) Team

Ying C. Cha

Curisha M. Drafton

Lawrence A. Kren

Scott R. Lawyer

John P. McLaughlin

Scott L. Metzger

Harry H. Olar

Malcolm G. Robbie

Greeta J. Thaikattil

Maciej G. Zborowski


Quiet SuperSonic Technology (QueSST) Team

Vincent R. Graziano

Kraig J. Hartley

Paul R. Lesiak


Revolutionary Vertical Lift Technology Team

Timothy A. Beach

Paul W. Giel

Mary J. Moran



Center Honor Awards

Safety Award

Aerospace Communications Facility (ACF) Hazards Analysis Team

Kevin M. Lambert

June 18, 2018

Back to His Roots for Vantage President & CEO

For the sixth consecutive year Vantage President and CEO Joe Polk and Vantage Systems contributed to  Virginia’s Pittsylvania County School System’s Graduate of Merit (GOM) Program by supporting Polk’s alma mater, Chatham High School in Chatham, Virginia. To fulfill his passion to give back to the community where he received his secondary school education Polk and Vantage Systems sponsors two GOM students each year.

The county’s Graduate of Merit Program is a community partnership which recognizes outstanding high school graduates who exemplify attributes of achievement, proficiency, character and social development demonstrated through commitment to excellence in education. The GOM program is a great school and community partnership that has received acknowledgement from the Governor of Virginia. The students are honored during a public ceremony/banquet attended by parents, sponsors, and school and county officials.

Pictured below are the 2018 Vantage sponsored recipients Destinee Carter and Devin Calloway being presented their awards by Mr. Polk.

January 5, 2018

Vantage Systems Honored by Prince George's County

During the recent Prince George’s County (PGC) “Business Appreciation Week” Vantage Systems, Inc. (Vantage) was selected as one of the top performing companies in Prince George’s County, Maryland. Vantage was recognized by the Office of the County Executive, Rushern Baker III, for its longstanding commitment to PGC. Vantage is a 25-year resident of PGC. Vantage was acknowledged for the important role it plays in the PGC community by providing jobs and revenue that help to improve the quality of life for PGC residents and businesses. The award was presented by the PGC Economic Development Corporation and accepted by Vantage President and CEO Joe Polk (center below).


August 1, 2017

Vantage Employees recognized by NASA Invention of the Year Awards

Hall Effect Thruster (HET)Hall Effect Thruster (HET) Life Extension

Hall Effect Thruster (HET) Life Extension

NASA Glenn Research Center’s Hall Effect Thruster (HET) Life Extension Invention received Honorable Mention for the NASA Invention of the Year.  Invented by Vantage Partners (VPL) employee Dr. Peter Peterson and four of his colleagues, this technology greatly prolongs the operational lifetime of the HET space propulsion engine. The novel design uses magnetic shielding to prevent the ionized xenon plasma that propels the HET from damaging the walls of the ceramic discharge channel where the plasma is accelerated. With this innovation, NASA can take advantage of the energy savings that come from the HET’s solar electric propulsion system (which offers ten times the fuel efficiency of chemical systems) to undertake such ambitious missions as the Journey to Mars.

Please refer to the following link for additional information on the HET Life Extension invention:

HET Team: Robert Jankovsky(GRC), David Manzella (GRC), David Jacobson (GRC), and Peter Peterson (VPL). Not pictured: Richard Hofer (JPL)


Schottky Diode Hydrogen and Hydrocarbon Gas Sensor

Also receiving the NASA Glenn Research Center Invention of the Year Honorable Mention is the Schottky Diode Hydrogen and Hydrocarbon Gas Sensor Team.  Their sensor can measure hydrogen and hydrocarbon species with high sensitivity and selectivity, while operating effectively even at very high temperatures (up to 600 degrees C). NASA Glenn innovators Gary Hunter (GRC), Dorothy Lukco (Vantage Partners), and Jennifer Xu (GRC) have combined newly developed silicon carbide (SiC) materials with Schottky diode sensing technology to create a sensor that directly measures the presence of targeted gases, rather than using a combination of pattern recognition and different cross-sensitive sensors. This ability to measure chemical species directly gives the SiC Schottky diode sensor uniquely high sensitivity and selectivity compared to other sensors. Furthermore, the sensor’s minimal power consumption as well as its small size and weight make it easy to implement in existing systems without requiring significant adaptations. All of these advantages make this technology extraordinarily useful, not only for space-related applications such as atmospheric characterization on Venus and the detection of launch pad fuel leaks, but also for more commercial uses such as monitoring cabin air quality aboard aircraft, enhancing industrial sensing systems, and providing real-time methane detection for firefighters and other first responders.

More information is available at Tech Briefs:

Schottky Diode Hydrogen and Hydrocarbon Gas Sensor Team:  Jennifer Xu (GRC), Gary Hunter (GRC), and Dorothy Lukco (VPL).