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General Dynamics Successfully Completes On-Orbit Checkout of NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope


General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems, a business unit of General Dynamics (NYSE: GD), has successfully completed the Launch and Early Orbit Phase (LEOP) of NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope. Fermi, previously known as the Gamma-ray Large Area Space Telescope or GLAST, is a next-generation high-energy gamma-ray satellite designed to make observations of celestial gamma-ray sources. NASA recently renamed the satellite in honor of Prof. Enrico Fermi (1901 - 1954), a pioneer in high-energy physics.

The LEOP is a functional checkout of the observatory which demonstrates that all the instruments and subsystems perform to meet Fermi’s mission. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center is now managing daily operations of the observatory. Fermi was launched on June 11, 2008.

As system integrator for the GLAST observatory, General Dynamics was responsible for the design and manufacture of the spacecraft bus, integration of the government-furnished instruments, full system testing, supported launch processing, and on-orbit checkout. General Dynamics assembled the spacecraft and integrated the payload at its space-systems factory in Gilbert, Ariz.

“Our close collaboration with NASA has resulted in meeting their challenging science objectives in an affordable manner,” said Dave Shingledecker, vice president and general manager of integrated space systems for General Dynamics. “General Dynamics is now 12 for 12 in on-orbit success for the satellites we’ve built.” A 13th satellite, GeoEye-1, was successfully launched on Sept. 6, 2008, and is now undergoing its 45-day on-orbit checkout.

NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope is an astrophysics and particle-physics partnership, developed in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Energy, along with important contributions from academic institutions and partners in France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Sweden and the U.S. More information is available at

General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems designs, develops, manufactures, integrates, operates and maintains mission systems for defense, space, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, homeland security and homeland defense customers. Headquartered in Fairfax, Va., the company specializes in ground systems; imagery processing; mission payloads; space vehicles; maritime subsurface, surface and airborne mission systems; and tasking, collection, processing, exploitation and dissemination programs for national intelligence. More information is available on the Internet at


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