Alberta company creates mission critical designs for NASA

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Houston or Calgary? Alberta company creates mission critical designs for NASA
WATCH: Calgary has a part to play in humanity's latest reach for the moon. As Sarah Offin reports, it all starts with the operations and state-of-the-art control centres on the ground. – Dec 2, 2022

They are rooms that host some of the world’s greatest minds, launching humanity further than ever before.

As NASA works towards its return to the moon through the Artemis mission, a Calgary company has a role to play from the ground.

Evans Consoles is responsible for the design of all three of the Johnson Space Centre’s mission control rooms, including other spaces where they do training, simulations and engineering.

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Comfort, site lines and communications are all designed for the intensity of the unexpected.

“Oftentimes in control rooms, acoustics and lighting are an issue when operators are there for 12 to, at times, 24 hours, in the case of an emergency,” said Scott Mathews, the regional sales manager along the Gulf Coast.

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Evans Consoles won NASA’s Space Flight Suppliers Award in 2006. Sarah Offin, Global News

And while NASA is one of the company’s highest-profile contracts, Evans has clients across the globe, including the Canadian military.

“A lot of public safety, 911 centres or call centres. We would also be in pipeline, chemical plant, refinery control rooms, air traffic control towers, (and) network operation centres,” said Mathews of their work.

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Over the past four decades, Evans Consoles has designed and manufactured some 14,000 control rooms worldwide, employing about 400 people from its Calgary home.

“At one point back in 1980 the screens that you would see on the consoles were the old-style CRT screens, massive computers,” Mathews recalled.

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And while the technology driving the workplaces has evolved, it’s the people behind the technology that the company continues to cater to.

“The people are the constant,” said Mathews. “We have to have people that can think on their toes, make quick decisions – there’s no time for indecision in there. So the people and the passion for the job is what has remained.”

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