San Diego Businesses ARE Booming

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The gloom has lifted in the weather department – finally, but has it for businesses in and around San Diego? Here’s your dose of San Diego’s business news.

Vulcan Wins Award

Vulcan Materials Co., Western Division was awarded by the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association its Palomar Transit Mix subsidiary’s Oceanside concrete plant with NRMCA’s Green-Star Certification.  NRMCA’s program supports the voluntary efforts of the ready mixed concrete industry to achieve environmental excellence and sustainability.

“Vulcan has an integrated EMS (Environmental Management System) that maximizes the achievement of very specific and measurable environmental goals,” said David Ayers, managing director of Compliance for NRMCA.

In addition to EMS, according to Ed Luce, Southern California Area and Operations Manager, the facility is also incorporating additional storm water controls to further improve water quality.

“We are very proud of this achievement,” said Alan Wessel, president Vulcan Materials Co., Western Division. “The Green-Star Certification is just one of many environmental initiatives we are implementing throughout the division. It’s been a team effort and will benefit the company as well as our community at-large.”

Three of the four NRMCA Green-Star certified concrete facilities in California are owned and operated by Vulcan including the company’s Mission Valley plant in San Diego and Santa Barbara facility. Vulcan officials say that its Western Division’s goal is to certify all its plants by the end of 2012.

The NRMCA’s Green-Star Program is a plant-specific certification that utilizes an Environmental Management System (EMS) based on a model of continual improvement. Green-Star certification encourages both environmental management practices and continual improvement, benefiting customers, communities and ready-mix concrete operations.


NASA and Microsoft Research are bringing Mars to life with new features in the WorldWide Telescope software that provides viewers with a high-resolution 3-D map of the Red Planet.  Microsoft’s online virtual telescope explores the universe using images NASA spacecraft return from other worlds.

“By providing the Mars dataset to the public on the WorldWide Telescope platform, we are enabling a whole new audience to experience the thrill of space,” said Chris C. Kemp, chief technology officer for information technology at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

The fully-interactive images and new NASA data will allow viewers to virtually explore Mars and make their own scientific discoveries.  New features include the highest resolution fully interactive map of Mars ever created realistic 3-D renderings of the surface of the planet and video tours with two NASA scientists. One tour walks viewers through the geological history of Mars and discusses three possible landing sites for human missions there. Each landing site highlights a different geological era of the planet. The other tour addresses the question “Is there life on Mars?” and describes the findings of NASA’s Mars Phoenix Lander.

The maps contain 74,000 images from Mars Global Surveyor’s Mars Orbiter Camera and more than 13,000 high-resolution images of Mars taken by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter’s High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera. Each individual HiRISE image contains more than a billion pixels. The complete maps were rendered into image mosaics containing more than half a billion smaller images.

“These incredibly detailed maps will enable the public to better experience and explore Mars,” said Michael Broxton, a research scientist in the Intelligent Robotics Group at Ames. “The collaborative relationship between NASA and Microsoft Research was instrumental for creating the software that brings these new Mars images into people’s hands, classrooms and living rooms.”

NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) reached the planet in 2006 to begin a two-year primary science mission. The mission has returned more data about Mars than all other spacecraft sent to the Red Planet. The Global Surveyor began orbiting Mars in 1997. The spacecraft operated longer than any other Mars spacecraft, ceasing operations in November 2006.

Malin Space Science Systems in San Diego provided and operated the Mars Orbiter Camera.

Raytheon Co.

Raytheon Co., has been awarded a $14.2 million contract to deliver the Ship Self Defense System (SSDS Mk 2) Open Architecture for four U.S. Navy ships and one land-based test facility.

SSDS is an open, distributed combat management system for aircraft carriers and expeditionary warfare ships. It is designed to expedite the detect-to-engage sequence to defend against anti-ship cruise missiles. SSDS links and automates stand-alone sensors and weapon systems to provide the required combat reaction. With its open and modular design, SSDS can be modified to support additional domestic and international combatants.

Under the contract, Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems (IDS) will assemble, test and deliver upgraded hardware sets that will be integrated on board the Navy’s amphibious assault ship LHA 7; aircraft carriers USS Truman (CVN 75) and USS Ford (CVN 78); the amphibious transport dock ship LPD 26; and the Naval Air Systems Command test facility.

“Raytheon’s SSDS is the most sophisticated combat management system available, providing exceptional capabilities to ensure maximum protection for the ship and her crew,” said Raytheon IDS’ Dave Gray, director of Ship Defense Systems. “The system’s open design and flexibility easily support upgrades to enhance and extend the ship’s capabilities — now and throughout the life of the ship.”

This award follows a $7.5 million contract modification for platform system engineering agent services for SSDS. As PSEA, Raytheon integrates upgrades to existing combat systems on board amphibious ships and aircraft carriers.

Work on SSDS is performed at Raytheon IDS’ Expeditionary Warfare Center, San Diego and at the Seapower Capability Center, Portsmouth, R.I.

Photos from http2007 via flickr and sleipen via wikimedia

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