General Atomics

General Atomics

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General Atomics is a nuclear physics and defense contractor
Defense contractor
A defense contractor is a business organization or individual that provides products or services to a military department of a government. Products typically include military aircraft, ships, vehicles, weaponry, and electronic systems...

 headquartered in San Diego, California
San Diego, California
San Diego is the eighth-largest city in the United States and second-largest city in California. The city is located on the coast of the Pacific Ocean in Southern California, immediately adjacent to the Mexican border. The birthplace of California, San Diego is known for its mild year-round...

. General Atomics’ research into fission
Nuclear fission
In nuclear physics and nuclear chemistry, nuclear fission is a nuclear reaction in which the nucleus of an atom splits into smaller parts , often producing free neutrons and photons , and releasing a tremendous amount of energy...

 and fusion
Nuclear fusion
Nuclear fusion is the process by which two or more atomic nuclei join together, or "fuse", to form a single heavier nucleus. This is usually accompanied by the release or absorption of large quantities of energy...

 matured into competencies in related technologies, allowing the company to expand into other fields of research. General Atomics develops systems ranging from the nuclear fuel cycle to remotely operated surveillance aircraft, airborne sensors, and advanced electric, electronic, wireless and laser technologies.

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI), an affiliate of General Atomics, provides unmanned aerial vehicles and radar solutions for military and commercial applications worldwide. The company’s Aircraft Systems Group is a designer and manufacturer of unmanned aircraft systems
Unmanned aerial vehicle
An unmanned aerial vehicle , also known as a unmanned aircraft system , remotely piloted aircraft or unmanned aircraft, is a machine which functions either by the remote control of a navigator or pilot or autonomously, that is, as a self-directing entity...

 (UAS), including the Predator
RQ-1 Predator
The General Atomics MQ-1 Predator is an unmanned aerial vehicle used primarily by the United States Air Force and Central Intelligence Agency...

, Predator B, Sky Warrior
MQ-1C Warrior
|-See also:-External links:* * * * *...

 and Predator C. The Reconnaissance Systems Group designs, manufactures, and integrates the Lynx Synthetic Aperture Radar
Synthetic aperture radar
Synthetic-aperture radar is a form of radar whose defining characteristic is its use of relative motion between an antenna and its target region to provide distinctive long-term coherent-signal variations that are exploited to obtain finer spatial resolution than is possible with conventional...

 (SAR)/GMTI radar into both manned and unmanned aircraft, as well as the CLAW sensor control and image analysis software, and integrates sensor and communications equipment into manned ISR
Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance
Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance may refer to:*the US Joint Command see Joint Functional Component Command for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance.*the military term, see ISTAR....

 aircraft.

History


General Atomics (GA) was founded July 18, 1955 in San Diego, California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

 as the General Atomic division of General Dynamics
General Dynamics
General Dynamics Corporation is a U.S. defense conglomerate formed by mergers and divestitures, and as of 2008 it is the fifth largest defense contractor in the world. Its headquarters are in West Falls Church , unincorporated Fairfax County, Virginia, in the Falls Church area.The company has...

 "for the purpose of harnessing the power of nuclear technologies for the benefit of mankind".

GA's very first offices were in the General Dynamics
General Dynamics
General Dynamics Corporation is a U.S. defense conglomerate formed by mergers and divestitures, and as of 2008 it is the fifth largest defense contractor in the world. Its headquarters are in West Falls Church , unincorporated Fairfax County, Virginia, in the Falls Church area.The company has...

 facility on Hancock Street in San Diego. GA also used a schoolhouse on San Diego's Barnard Street as its temporary headquarters, which it would later "adopt" as part of its Education Outreach program. San Diego voters approved the transfer of land to GA for permanent facilities in Torrey Pines
Torrey Pines, San Diego, California
Torrey Pines is a primarily residential community of in the northern coastal area of San Diego, California.- Geography :Torrey Pines is bordered to the north by the city of Del Mar, to the south by La Jolla, to the east by Interstate 5, Carmel Valley, Torrey Hills, the Los Peñasquitos Canyon...

 and the John Jay Hopkins
John Jay Hopkins
John Jay Hopkins was founder and president of General Dynamics from 1952 to 1957.Hopkins was born in Santa Ana, California....

 Laboratory for Pure and Applied Science was formally dedicated there on June 25, 1959. The Torrey Pines facility continues to serve as the company's headquarters today.

The initial projects were the TRIGA
TRIGA
TRIGA is a class of small nuclear reactor designed and manufactured by General Atomics. The design team for TRIGA was led by the physicist Freeman Dyson.TRIGA is the acronym of Training, Research, Isotopes, General Atomics.-Design:...

 nuclear reactor
Nuclear reactor
A nuclear reactor is a device to initiate and control a sustained nuclear chain reaction. Most commonly they are used for generating electricity and for the propulsion of ships. Usually heat from nuclear fission is passed to a working fluid , which runs through turbines that power either ship's...

 and Project Orion
Project Orion (nuclear propulsion)
Project Orion was a study of a spacecraft intended to be directly propelled by a series of explosions of atomic bombs behind the craft...

.
  • 1967: sold to Gulf Oil
    Gulf Oil
    Gulf Oil was a major global oil company from the 1900s to the 1980s. The eighth-largest American manufacturing company in 1941 and the ninth-largest in 1979, Gulf Oil was one of the so-called Seven Sisters oil companies...

     and renamed Gulf General Atomic.
  • 1973: GA was again renamed as General Atomic Company when Royal Dutch Shell
    Royal Dutch Shell
    Royal Dutch Shell plc , commonly known as Shell, is a global oil and gas company headquartered in The Hague, Netherlands and with its registered office in London, United Kingdom. It is the fifth-largest company in the world according to a composite measure by Forbes magazine and one of the six...

     Group's Scallop Nuclear Inc. became a 50-50 partner in the company.
  • 1982: Gulf bought out its partner and renamed the company GA Technologies Inc.
  • 1984: Chevron
    Chevron Corporation
    Chevron Corporation is an American multinational energy corporation headquartered in San Ramon, California, United States and active in more than 180 countries. It is engaged in every aspect of the oil, gas, and geothermal energy industries, including exploration and production; refining,...

     took ownership of GA following its merger with Gulf Oil.
  • 1986: GA was sold to a company owned by Neal Blue
    Neal Blue
    James Neal Blue was born in 1935 in Meeker, CO.Neal and his brother Linden Blue acquired General Atomics in 1986 from Chevron Oil for a reported $60 million. Neal serves as chairman and CEO of General Atomics, which specializes in diversified research, development and manufacturing in defense,...

     and Linden Blue
    Linden Blue
    Linden Stanley Blue is an American aviation executive. He is the co-owner of General Atomics, where he serves as the Vice Chairman, and runs aircraft manufacturer Spectrum Aeronautical....

     when it assumed its current name.
  • 1987: former U.S. Navy Rear Admiral, Thomas J. Cassidy Jr. joined General Atomics.
  • 1993: GA was awarded the "Information Services" portion of the NSF contract for InterNIC
    InterNIC
    The Internet Network Information Center, known as InterNIC, was the Internet governing body primarily responsible for domain name and IP address allocations from 1972 until September 18, 1998 when this role was assumed by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers...

     functions and publishes Internet Scout Report.
  • 1993: General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) was created, with Cassidy as President.
  • 1994: GA-ASI spun off as a General Atomics affiliated company.
  • 1995: GA's role as provider of InterNIC Information Services ends.


On March 15, 2010, Cassidy stepped down as President of GA-ASI, staying on as non-executive chairman of the company's management committee. Frank Pace, the executive vice president of Aircraft Systems Group, succeeded Cassidy as President of GA-ASI.

General Atomics is also developing a Generation IV reactor
Generation IV reactor
Generation IV reactors are a set of theoretical nuclear reactor designs currently being researched. Most of these designs are generally not expected to be available for commercial construction before 2030...

 design, the Gas Turbine Modular Helium Reactor
Gas turbine modular helium reactor
The Gas Turbine Modular Helium Reactor is a nuclear fission power reactor design under development by General Atomics. It is a helium cooled, graphite moderated reactor and uses TRISO fuel compacts in a prismatic core design.-Construction:...

 (GT-MHR). In 2010, General Atomics presented a new version of the GT-MHR, the Energy Multiplier Module
Energy Multiplier Module
The Energy Multiplier Module is a nuclear fission power reactor under development by General Atomics. It is a modified version of the Gas Turbine Modular Helium Reactor and is capable of converting spent nuclear fuel into electricity and industrial process heat, without separative or conventional...

 (EM2), which uses fast neutrons
Fast neutron reactor
A fast neutron reactor or simply a fast reactor is a category of nuclear reactor in which the fission chain reaction is sustained by fast neutrons...

 and is a Gas-cooled fast reactor
Gas-cooled fast reactor
The Gas-Cooled Fast Reactor system is a nuclear reactor design which is currently in development. Classed as a Generation IV reactor, it features a fast-neutron spectrum and closed fuel cycle for efficient conversion of fertile uranium and management of actinides...

.

Business groups

  • Advanced Technologies Group
    • Advanced Process Systems Division
    • Electromagnetic Systems Division - The Electromagnetic Systems (EMS) Division of General Atomics is a supplier of electromagnetic systems and related power equipment for a variety of defense, energy, and commercial transportation applications. EMS has expertise in the design and fabrication of linear motors, superconducting and conventional rotating motors, power inverters, high-voltage DC power distribution systems, and numerous other energy conversion, distribution, and storage systems. EMS is a leader in applying electromagnetic technologies to aircraft launch and recovery (EMALS and AAG System), projectile launch (Navy rail gun
      Railgun
      A railgun is an entirely electrical gun that accelerates a conductive projectile along a pair of metal rails using the same principles as the homopolar motor. Railguns use two sliding or rolling contacts that permit a large electric current to pass through the projectile. This current interacts...

      ), and magnetic levitation transportation systems.
    • Systems Engineering Division
    • Nuclear Waste Management
  • Energy Group
    • Controlled Fusion
      Nuclear fusion
      Nuclear fusion is the process by which two or more atomic nuclei join together, or "fuse", to form a single heavier nucleus. This is usually accompanied by the release or absorption of large quantities of energy...

    • Power Reactors
  • Nuclear Fuels Group

Affiliated companies



  • General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI)
    • Aircraft Systems Group - The Aircraft Systems Group of GA-ASI is a leading designer and manufacturer of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) and provides pilot training and support services for UAS field operations.
    • Reconnaissance Systems Group - The Reconnaissance Systems Group of GA-ASI designs, manufactures and integrates the Magnum (Raptor View) high-resolution EO/IR and Lynx SAR/GMTI sensor systems for both manned and unmanned aircraft.
  • General Atomics Electronic Systems (GA-ESI) - General Atomics Electronic Systems, Inc. consists of five product lines involving different aspects of energy.
    • Terminal Automation Products (TAP) provides automated distribution, inventory control and transaction processing systems to bulk product storage facilities that handle petroleum, chemical and agricultural products.
    • Radiation Monitoring Systems (RMS) designs, manufactures, and supports a full range of radiation monitoring, detecting, control, data collection, and display equipment, with an installed base of equipment and systems at over half of the currently operating nuclear plants in the United States and at numerous sites in Europe and throughout the Far East.
    • General Atomics Energy Products manufactures Maxwell high voltage capacitors after acquiring the product line from Maxwell Technologies
      Maxwell Technologies
      Maxwell Technologies is a developer and manufacturer of energy storage and power delivery-related products.-History:The company was founded in 1965 as Maxwell Laboratories, originally as a government contractor, providing advanced physics, pulsed power, space effects analysis and other research and...

       in 2000.
    • The Gulftronic Separator System is a continuous operation, electrostatic, on-stream separation system currently in use by most major oil companies. Since their introduction in 1979, over 30 systems have been installed at petroleum refineries worldwide.
    • TRIGA
      TRIGA
      TRIGA is a class of small nuclear reactor designed and manufactured by General Atomics. The design team for TRIGA was led by the physicist Freeman Dyson.TRIGA is the acronym of Training, Research, Isotopes, General Atomics.-Design:...

       (Training, Research, Isotopes and General Atomics), with over 65 facilities in 22 countries, is a supplier of nuclear research reactors for university, industrial, government, and medical applications. Originally designed to meet requirements for operator training, educational programs including nuclear research, and fuel development, TRIGA's design has allowed its usage to be expanded to meet the requirements of application in medical and agricultural research, isotope production, and neutron radiography.
  • General Atomics Systems Integration, LLC (GA-SI) - GA-SI is a provider of military and commercial engineering services. GA-SI is a leading-edge expert in aircraft systems integration technologies, reliability improvements, and controls system design. GA-SI provides engineering services for new-development and aging-system services to military and commercial customers. The company also provides responsive and independent Test and Evaluation assessment as well as field services which offer customers prompt and accurate maintenance and logistics solutions.
  • ConverDyn - ConverDyn serves the global nuclear industry, offering UF6. They coordinate and manage all aspects of the conversion process for their customers, including uranium deliveries, uranium sampling, materials storage, and product delivery.
  • Cotter Corporation - Cotter Corporation is headquartered in Denver, Colorado
    Colorado
    Colorado is a U.S. state that encompasses much of the Rocky Mountains as well as the northeastern portion of the Colorado Plateau and the western edge of the Great Plains...

    . Through its various mining and milling operations, Cotter has produced uranium, vanadium, molybdenum, silver, lead, zinc, copper, selenium, nickel, cobalt, tungsten and limestone. Originally incorporated in 1956 in New Mexico as a uranium production company, Cotter was purchased by and became a wholly owned subsidiary of Commonwealth Edison
    Commonwealth Edison
    Commonwealth Edison is the largest electric utility in Illinois, serving the Chicago and Northern Illinois area...

     in 1975. GA acquired Cotter in early 2000.
  • Heathgate Resources Pty. Ltd. - Formed in 1990, Heathgate Resources is the owner and operator of the Beverley Uranium Mine
    Beverley Uranium Mine
    The Beverley Mine is Australia's third uranium mine and Australia's first operating in-situ recovery mine. It is located 35 km from Lake Frome at the northern end of the Flinders Ranges in South Australia and opened in 2001...

     in northern South Australia
    South Australia
    South Australia is a state of Australia in the southern central part of the country. It covers some of the most arid parts of the continent; with a total land area of , it is the fourth largest of Australia's six states and two territories.South Australia shares borders with all of the mainland...

    . Beverley is Australia's third uranium mine and Australia's only operating In Situ Leach mine.
  • Nuclear Fuels Corporation - Nuclear Fuels Corporation (NFC) was formed in 1991 by General Atomics (GA) to market uranium produced from GA mining assets as well as to develop additional uranium projects. NFC is a long-term contract supplier to both U.S. and foreign utilities and actively participates in uranium trading. NFC is the marketing representative for other GA affiliates, Heathgate Resources and Cotter Corporation. The company also has an agreement to purchase all uranium recovered by Wismut GmbH from reclamation of the Königstein mine in eastern Germany.
  • Rio Grande Resources Corporation - Rio Grande Resources Corporation controls uranium operations and mineral resources acquired by GA from Chevron Resources in 1991. Included in this acquisition were mines in south Texas and New Mexico. In New Mexico, the Mt. Taylor project, a conventional underground mine that contains the largest uranium resource in the United States, is currently on standby.
  • TRIGA
    TRIGA
    TRIGA is a class of small nuclear reactor designed and manufactured by General Atomics. The design team for TRIGA was led by the physicist Freeman Dyson.TRIGA is the acronym of Training, Research, Isotopes, General Atomics.-Design:...

     International (with CERCA, a subsidiary of Areva
    Areva
    AREVA is a French public multinational industrial conglomerate headquartered in the Tour Areva in Courbevoie, Paris. AREVA is mainly known for nuclear power; it also has interests in other energy projects. It was created on 3 September 2001, by the merger of Framatome , Cogema and...

    )
  • Spezialtechnik Dresden GmbH - Spezialtechnik Dresden GmbH (STD) stands as holding at the head of the Spezialtechnik-Group Dresden and renders commercially characterized and marketing/sales oriented consulting and support services for the companies of the group.

Educational outreach


Since 1992, the General Atomics Science Education Outreach Program, a volunteer effort of GA employees and San Diego science teachers, has worked with Science Coordinators for the San Diego Schools to bring the business and research side of science into the classroom. The goal is both to improve the quality of science education and to encourage more students to pursue science careers. In addition, the teachers' interactions with the scientists and exposure to everyday uses of their disciplines help them to be better educators.

In 1995, the program was expanded, and the General Atomics Sciences Education Foundation [501(c) (3)] was established. The General Atomics Sciences Education Foundation’s goal is to play a major role in enhancing pre-college education in science, engineering and new technologies. To attain this goal, four areas of core competency at General Atomics were initially selected to form the basis for the development of inquiry-based education modules and associated workshops. Scientist/teacher teams wrote these modules, which fuse the content and methodology of industrial research and development with the teaching skills of experienced science teachers.

Hundreds of teachers attended the initial workshops. Since the first workshops, additional educational modules have been developed and presented to teachers at local, state, and national conferences. Two of the modules developed attracted the interest of professional educational institutes, who have transformed them into educational modules that are being distributed nationally.
  • The Line of Resistance module and the Explorations in Materials Science modules were revised in collaboration with the Institute for Chemical Education (ICE) at the University of Wisconsin. ICE is currently selling these modules worldwide.


When these workshops are presented at conferences, the General Atomics Sciences Education Foundation supports the printing of various associated materials that are handed out to all participants, as well as the travel expenses of the General Atomics scientist presenters.

The General Atomics Sciences Education Foundation has supported many local education projects such as the PISCES Project and the San Diego Science Festival
Science festival
A science festival is a public event featuring a variety of science- and technology-related activities—from lectures, exhibitions, workshops, live demonstrations of experiments, guided tours and panel discussions to cultural events such as theater plays, readings and musical productions, all with...

.

Accolades

  • 2008 North American Frost & Sullivan Award for Company of the Year
  • 2008 Defense News Top 100, Ranked #57
  • Frost & Sullivan 2006 Business Development Strategy Leadership Award, presented for Gains in the Unmanned Aerial Systems Market
  • Shephard Press’ Unmanned Vehicles 2005 UAV Design Innovation Award, presented for Warrior Extended Range/Multi-Purpose UAV
  • Aviation Week 2005 Employer of Choice Finalist, Diversity, Valuing People, Technological Challenge—Third Best U.S. Aerospace/Defense Employer
  • USAF Association 2004 John R. Alison
    John R. Alison
    - External links :* The All-American Airman, Walter J. Boyne, March 2000*John R. Alison Papers, 1945–1957*John R. Alison Collection, including extended video interview available online.*" John R. Alison Enshrinee Biography...

     Award for the most outstanding contributions to national defense by an industrial leader, presented to President/CEO, Thomas J. Cassidy Jr.
  • Aviation Week/AIA 2004 Employer of Choice Finalist, Technological Challenge—Third Best U.S. Aerospace/Defense Employer
  • Frost & Sullivan 2003 Product Innovation Award, presented for Development of the First Armed UAV, the MQ-1 Predator
  • Smithsonian’s National Air & Space Museum 2002 Current Achievement Trophy, presented for Predator UAV Development
  • Flight International’s 2002 Aerospace Industry Award, Missiles & Military Aircraft, presented for RQ-1 Predator Hellfire Capability Development
  • Hall of Fame for Engineering, Science & Technology, 2002 U.S. National Inductee, presented to Executive Vice President Frank Pace for UAV Development and Promotion
  • AUVSI’s 2002 Pioneer Award, presented to President/CEO Thomas J. Cassidy Jr.
  • Shephard Press’ Unmanned Vehicles 2001 UAV Design Innovation Award, presented for Jet-powered Predator B Development Aviation Week’s 2001 Laurels Award, presented for Aeronautics/Propulsion
  • USAF’s 2001 Packard Award for Development & Engineering, presented for Predator/Hellfire Integration

Government influence


General Atomics was the single biggest corporate underwriter of Congressional trips between January 2000 and June 2005, according to a nine-month study of congressional travel disclosure forms. The company spent more than $660,000 on 86 trips taken by members of Congress, their aides and families. Most of that was spent on overseas travel related to the unmanned Predator spy plane made by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems. Since 2005, the Center for Responsible Politics reported General Atomics had spent over $1.5 million per year in lobbying efforts from 2005 to 2011.

The company said it had sponsored travel for members of Congress and their staffs "to promote enhanced understanding of General Atomics' technology research and product development." The company also noted that excursions were reviewed by "the appropriate Congressional ethics committees prior to travel."

In April 2002, for example, the company paid for Letitia White, who was then a top aide to Representative Jerry Lewis
Jerry Lewis (politician)
Charles Jeremy Lewis is the U.S. Representative for , and previously the 40th, 35th and 37th, serving since 2003. He is a member of the Republican Party. He is a former chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, serving in the role during the 109th Congress.-Early life, education, and...

, and her husband to travel to Italy. White left Lewis' office nine months later, to become a lobbyist at Copeland Lowery. The next day, she began representing General Atomics. Lewis, her former boss, was at the time chairman of the House Defense Appropriations subcommittee.

See also

  • DIII-D
    DIII-D (fusion reactor)
    DIII-D is the name of a tokamak machine developed in the 1980s by General Atomics in San Diego, USA, as part of the ongoing effort to achieve magnetically confined fusion. DIII-D pioneered new technology including the use of beams of neutral particles to penetrate the confinement field of the...

  • Energy Multiplier Module
    Energy Multiplier Module
    The Energy Multiplier Module is a nuclear fission power reactor under development by General Atomics. It is a modified version of the Gas Turbine Modular Helium Reactor and is capable of converting spent nuclear fuel into electricity and industrial process heat, without separative or conventional...

  • General Atomics ALTUS
    General Atomics ALTUS
    - External links :* * *...

  • GNAT-750
    GNAT-750
    -References:This article contains material that originally came from the web article by Greg Goebel, which exists in the Public Domain.-External links:* at the FAS* http://www.designation-systems.net/dusrm/app4/gnat.html...

  • Gas Turbine Modular Helium Reactor
    Gas turbine modular helium reactor
    The Gas Turbine Modular Helium Reactor is a nuclear fission power reactor design under development by General Atomics. It is a helium cooled, graphite moderated reactor and uses TRISO fuel compacts in a prismatic core design.-Construction:...

  • HT3R
    HT3R
    The University of Texas of the Permian Basin and the Los Alamos National Laboratory , are proposing a multifaceted energy research facility called the High-Temperature Teaching & Test Reactor to be located in Andrews County, Texas...

  • MQ-1 Predator
  • MQ-1C Warrior
    MQ-1C Warrior
    |-See also:-External links:* * * * *...

  • MQ-9 Reaper
    MQ-9 Reaper
    The General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper is an unmanned aerial vehicle , capable of remote controlled or autonomous flight operations, developed by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems for use by the United States Air Force, the United States Navy, the CIA, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Royal...

  • General Atomics Avenger
    General Atomics Avenger
    -External links:* *...

  • Sequoyah Fuels Corporation
    Sequoyah Fuels Corporation
    Sequoyah Fuels Corporation owned and operated a uranium processing plant near Gore, Oklahoma. The company was created in 1983 as a subsidiary of Kerr-McGee. In 1988 it was sold to General Atomics-Uranium processing plant :...

  • TRIGA
    TRIGA
    TRIGA is a class of small nuclear reactor designed and manufactured by General Atomics. The design team for TRIGA was led by the physicist Freeman Dyson.TRIGA is the acronym of Training, Research, Isotopes, General Atomics.-Design:...


External links