Fairfax County E-Bird newsletter for March 16, 2021: SAIC, Space Force and VR; Silver Line phase 2; Amazon in Springfield

Let the space games begin: The U.S. Space Force is working with Reston-based SAIC on a virtual reality platform that enables Space Force Guardians to interact with full-scale digital replicas of national security satellites. The platform lets the armed forces practice responding to missile-warning scenarios and collaborate in cyberspace. The contract with SAIC was established to create a virtual replica of space stations, mission control rooms and satellites, which can be difficult or costly to get to. That way, the space agency can streamline operations and train teams on what to expect before being launched on a mission. “We wanted the experience [to feel] like you were actually there,” said John Lynch, program director for SAIC. The Washington Post has more.

All aboard to IAD — in 2022: The second phase of Metro’s Silver Line — linking the region via rail with Reston Town Center, Herndon, Washington Dulles International Airport and Loudoun County — could become a commuter reality early next year, Metro officials said last week. The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority plans to hand over the line’s long-delayed second phase to Metro on Labor Day. Metro planners told board members that it would take an additional five months for testing and preparations on the 11-mile extension between Reston and Loudoun County before it’s ready for customers. Stay tuned… that timeline may put the opening next February, according to the Washington Post. The second phase of the Silver Line has six stations: Reston Town Center, Herndon, Innovation Center, Dulles Airport, Loudoun Gateway and Ashburn.

Amazon investing in Springfield: The Washington Business Journal reports that Amazon’s data center arm acquired a two-building Springfield office complex for $28 million. The 110,000-square foot buildings on Loisdale Road, not far from Fort Belvoir’s north gate, have been mostly vacant since delivering eight years ago. WBJ Managing Editor Michael Neibauer wrote that “a conversion to data centers is likely” for the buildings.

A bigger Boro: The Boro, the large mixed-use development near Greensboro Metro Station in Tysons that opened in 2019, could soon be even larger. Developers submitted a final development plan recently for two new residential buildings. The development’s next phase, proposed by developers Meridian Group and Akridge, would expand The Boro northwest across Westpark Drive — where the NADA Building is now — with two residential buildings. As many as 560 apartments and condos could be built on the 5-acre property, including 93 workforce dwelling units, as well as retail space and a central park, according to Bisnow.

Diving in to Fairfax County: Scotland-based JFD Global established JFD North America, its U.S. headquarters, in Reston. The company provides the commercial and defense markets with underwater solutions related to diving, submarine and rescue, technical solutions and services. “The United States of America and the wider Americas region are of great importance to JFD, and the establishment of a dedicated office through JFD North America allows us to bring our three decades of underwater domain expertise to the market. JFD North America will have a U.S. presence that allows for direct and local contact with its customer base. This is a major investment and commitment to providing support and services to the US Department of Defense,” said Danny Gray, JFD managing director. Energy Voice has more.

Space robot workers: Westminster, Colo.-based Maxar, which has a Herndon location, concluded the critical design review activities on its on-orbit satellite servicing robotic technology that is slated for delivery to NASA within the first six months of 2022. Maxar said its Space Infrastructure Dexterous Robot will work to reconfigure and assemble satellites in space as part of the NASA’s On-Orbit Servicing, Assembly and Manufacturing-1 program, reported ExecutiveBiz.

Think small: Tysons-based satellite company Lepton Global Solutions is partnering with Sweden-based Satcube to expand its network offering for small, portable Very Small Aperture Terminals. Satcube Ku is a compact carry-on satellite terminal with a flat antenna the size of a large laptop. The goal of this partnership is to serve defense, public safety, and commercial customers, according to Lepton Global Solutions, Satellite News reported.

Getting back to in-person events: Tysons-based Hilton is offering event planners COVID-19 testing and health screening resources for their event attendees. After booking a meeting or event at any U.S. property, planners gain access to third-party providers with COVID-19 tests and health screening options, according to Franchising.com. “As more customers book in-person meetings and events, there has been a steady increase in requests and questions around COVID-19 testing and screening options for event attendees,” said Frank Passanante, senior vice president, Hilton Worldwide Sales, Americas. “In response, we expanded the resources within our Hilton EventReady Playbook to include third-party providers that can deliver a seamless experience and offer preferential pricing to our event planners.”

Cyber partnership: Tysons-based IronNet Cybersecurity and Dallas-based civil engineering firm Jacobs formed a partnership to offer collective cyber defense capabilities. The joint offering of Jacobs and IronNet advancements in machine learning and AI provides cutting edge cyber defense detection to discover both known and unknown cyber threats, allowing a more thorough approach to network security for their clients, according to a release posted on Intelligence Community News. “The Jacobs-IronNet partnership represents a powerful combination that will help more organizations detect and prevent sophisticated and damaging nation state cyberattacks, a challenge that has become even more critical following the recent SolarWinds/SUNBURST supply chain attack,” said IronNet founder and co-CEO General (ret.) Keith Alexander.

More IronNet news: IronNet Cybersecurity is reportedly in talks to go public through a merger with Reno, Nev.-based LGL Systems Acquisition Corp., Bloomberg reported last week. The special purpose acquisition company is discussing raising new equity to support a transaction that would set the value the combined entity at about $1.2 billion.

Notable contract wins by firms in Fairfax County

Serco won a $600 million contract from the Navy to support the Anti-Terrorism/Force Protection Ashore Sustainment Program by providing software, hardware and firmware-maintenance services. ExecutiveBiz

ASRC Federal Field Services secured a $457 million contract from the Air Force to support the 71st Flying Training Wing, located at Vance Air Force Base in Oklahoma, to provide operating support services. Air Force Technology

Northrop Grumman won a one-year, $81.9 million contract from the Navy to sustain, test and engineer MQ-4C Triton unmanned aircraft systems. GovConWire

ICF received a five-year, $53 million contract from the Army to expand its cyber-related studies with the Army Research Laboratory. ExecutiveBiz

Peraton secured a two-year, $44 million contract from the Army for hypersonic test engineering, mission planning and systems. ExecutiveBiz

MCR won a $12.8 million contract to provide the Department of Homeland Security’s Cost Analysis Division direct support in conducting cost estimates and data analyses. InsideNoVa

Featured business events

March 17 — Fintech and Cybersecurity, Opportunities for Israeli Companies in Northern Virginia. Presented by the FCEDA, in partnership with KPMG Israel and Israel Advanced Technology Industries, this virtual event will examine potential business opportunities and go-to-market partnerships for Israeli fintech and cybersecurity companies in Northern Virginia’s financial services and cybersecurity sectors. Click here to register.

March 24 — Are You Dating Your Customer? The Art of Wooing Your Customer. The Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce presents a webinar featuring Nona Phinn, who has more than 15 years of hands-on experience in all aspects of marketing. The session is part of the chamber’s Business Education Series. Click here to register.

March 25 — United Airlines Update. The Committee for Dulles in hosting an online forum featuring United Airlines’ Lauren Riley, Managing Director, Global Environmental Affairs and Sustainability; Eddie Gordon, Managing Director, Dulles Hub; and Evan Koppel, Director, Sales – Atlantic Region. The topics of discussion will include the importance of Dulles as a United hub and its future plans with the airport, United’s “Sustainable” program, and the “CleanPlus” program that ensures health and safety during flights. Click here to register.

How the Fairfax County EDA can help

The FCEDA is here to connect businesses of all kinds to resources and information. Visit the FCEDA’s Covid-19 Business Resource Hub for up-to-date information. For direct assistance, email the FCEDA at info@fceda.org, or call 703-790-0600 to leave a voice message for our staff. And click here for resources available in the other nine jurisdictions that make up the Northern Virginia Economic Development Alliance.

Virginia measures to contain COVID-19

Starting Monday, March 1, 2021, Governor Ralph Northam amended Executive Order 72 with the next steps of the “Forward Virginia” plan to safely and gradually ease public health restrictions while mitigating the spread of the virus.

The key changes include:

  • Social gatherings: The maximum number of individuals permitted in a social gathering will increase from 10 to 25 people for outdoor settings, while remaining at 10 persons for indoor settings.
  • Entertainment venues: Outdoor entertainment and public amusement venues will be able to operate with up to 1,000 individuals or at 30 percent capacity, whichever is lower. If current trends continue, these venues may be able to operate at 30 percent capacity with no cap on the number of people permitted to attend starting in April. Indoor entertainment and public amusement venues must continue to operate at 30 percent capacity with a cap of 250 people. All entertainment venues were previously limited to a maximum of 250 individuals.
  • Dining establishments: The on-site sale, consumption, and possession of alcohol will be permitted until midnight, extended from 10:00 p.m. All restaurants, dining establishments, food courts, breweries, microbreweries, distilleries, wineries, and tasting rooms still must be closed between midnight and 5:00 a.m.
  • Overnight summer camps: As of May 1, overnight summer camps will be able to open with strict mitigation measures in place. Registration can begin now.

The new guidelines will be effective for at least one month and mitigation measures may be eased further if key health metrics continue to improve. Current guidelines for retail businesses, fitness and exercise, large amusement venues, and personal grooming services will remain in place. Individuals are strongly encouraged to continue teleworking if possible.

For more information, please click here.