In 1999 Rothe developed an External Customer Plan that allows external customers access to NASA/JSC facilities. Today Rothe continues supporting this discipline as a member of the External Customer Office at NASA’s Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory in Houston, TX. In this capacity, Rothe works to connect industry partners with the capabilities of the facility for their specific mission testing. In partnership with Vertex, Rothe has made alliances with various industry-leading companies (external customers) to use the facility’s excess capacity.
We have hosted product development testing, underwater vehicle development testing, software correlation testing, failure analyses, topside and underwater product training, and product demonstrations, with some projects involving international partners from England, Germany, Scotland, and Sweden. As NASA’s mission grows, the excess capacity of the facility shrinks, however since 2010 the External Customer Office has been able to offset NASA over $12 million with this endeavor.