Prestigious medal honors more than 25 years supporting Electronic Systems Test Laboratory
HERNDON, VA — November 7, 2019 — Peraton employee Dwayne Saunders was recently recognized by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for his exceptional leadership of the Electronic Systems Test Laboratory (ESTL) in conducting highly successful testing of advanced Human Space Program communications systems.
Saunders, who has supported the ESTL for over 25 years, received the NASA Exceptional Public Service Medal from Mark Geyer, director of the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, during the 2019 NASA Honor Awards Ceremony on September 13. The Exceptional Public Service Medal is given to “non-Government individuals for sustained performance that embodies multiple contributions on NASA projects, programs, or initiatives.”
As the ESTL contractor manager, Saunders led the team that transformed the ESTL into an “adaptive multidimensional and Agency-unique test engineering facility.” Today, the ESTL is a $150 million investment that conducts unique end-to-end radio frequency testing by interfacing crewed spacecraft communications systems with relay satellites and ground elements. This testing is mandatory for successful flights because a spacecraft’s communications equipment interface is the lone link between Earth and the space vehicle.
Thanks to Saunders’ leadership, not only NASA but also SpaceX, Orbital ATK (now part of Northrop Grumman) and Boeing were able to identify and correct design flaws prior to flight after conducting testing through the ESTL.
On October 11, Peraton also recognized Saunders with an Apex Platinum award to reinforce how strongly the company values employees’ long-term service as integral assets helping Peraton customers achieve their critical national security missions.
“Dwayne’s dedicated leadership and vision have enabled his team to continue to provide exemplary service in the Human Spaceflight arena. We are all proud of his accomplishments for our NASA customers and Peraton, and we look forward to his continued significant contributions and impact on many future missions,” said Ronna Kirchoff, Peraton’s vice president, Civil Space Programs.
Photo: 2019 Agency Honor Awards Ceremony. Photo Date: September 13, 2019. Location: Building 2 South – Teague Auditorium. Photographer: Robert Markowitz
Peraton provides innovative, reliable solutions to the nation’s most sensitive and mission-critical programs and systems. As a trusted provider of highly differentiated space, intelligence, cyber, defense, homeland security, and communications capabilities, Peraton is a critical partner to the Intelligence Community, Department of Defense, and select federal agencies and commercial entities. Headquartered in Herndon, Virginia, the company employs more than 3,500 people across the U.S. and Canada.
Director of Strategic Communications