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Formed in 1958, AS&E began as a developer of scientific instruments for NASA, founded by a group of scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). In 1959, future Nobel laureate Dr. Riccardo Giacconi joined AS&E and put together an elite X-ray astronomy team. In the coming decades, Dr. Giacconi’s team made a succession of scientific breakthroughs, including the discovery of the first known X-ray source outside the solar system (1962) and the first successful soft X-ray photograph of the sun (1965).

In subsequent years, AS&E went on to develop advanced technologies in the fields of defense, education, medicine, non-destructive testing, and security, such as low energy, high-resolution Computed Tomography (CT) scanning of the human body—the same technology that is used today in medical diagnostic-scanning systems around the world (1976). In addition, AS&E also developed the first cargo X-ray imaging system used by the U.S. Government to scan rail cars leaving Russian missile factories (1989). And AS&E developed the first mobile X-ray inspection system with the MobileSearch (1994).

Today, AS&E focuses on designing and manufacturing world-class inspection technologies, with expertise building on our heritage of innovation.

AS&E Timeline

The Early Years 1958-69

Photo of [subject] Pioneers in X-ray Astronomy

AS&E is founded in Cambridge, Massachusetts, as a developer of scientific and technological instruments and applications for NASA.

1959 – 1962
Future Nobel Prize winner Dr. Riccardo Giacconi joins AS&E and puts together a team that will go on to make groundbreaking discoveries in astronomy, such as the first cosmic X-ray source discovered using X-ray detectors launched on a sounding rocket.

AS&E takes the first successful photograph of the sun in soft X-rays with an AS&E X-ray telescope.

AS&E develops the first focusing X-ray telescope, which for the next 15 years returns an X-ray picture of the sun every five minutes.


Branching Out 1970-80

Photo of [subject]Breakthroughs in Medical and Security X-ray

AS&E performs pioneering work for the U.S. Postal Office to develop a parcel X-ray system.

The “Flying Spot” is patented. This technology becomes the basis of Z Backscatter™ technology, which allows the position of the X-ray beam to be defined at every instant of time.

AS&E develops the first “4th Gen” CT, with images that can “slice” through any section of the body.

AS&E works with Pfizer Medical Systems to develop low-dose X-ray systems using the “Flying Spot” method.

New Markets 1980-94

Photo of [subject]Growth in X-ray Security Products

Delivers Six of the World’s Largest CT Systems for Inspection of Solid Rocket  Motors

Produces the First Cargo X-ray Imaging System to Inspect Railroad Cars Exiting Russian Missile Factory

Introduces MobileSearch, One of the First Mobile Cargo X-ray Security Systems

A New Approach 2000-Today

Photo of [subject]

Expanding AS&E around the Globe

AS&E debuts the ZBV system, now the top-selling mobile X-ray inspection system in the world.

AS&E commenced trading on The NASDAQ Stock Market under the symbol ASEI.

AS&E introduces the first generation of OmniView Gantry inspection system and the SmartCheck personnel screening system.

The Z Portal multi-view screening system is released, and opens the market for drive-through vehicle screening; additionally, the first tunnel size in the Gemini line, Gemini 6040, is released.

AS&E celebrates its 50th anniversary as the Fortune Small Business “FSB 100” list ranks AS&E as one of the 100 fastest-growing small public companies in the U.S.

The ZBV system is the number one selling non-intrusive mobile inspection system on the market with over 400 ZBV systems sold to 85 customers in 46 countries. ZBV success stories continue to grow, from seizures of large quantities of drugs, to the detection of stowaways and bulk explosives in war zones. 

Fortune Magazine names AS&E among its 100 Fastest-Growing companies list. AS&E is one of four Massachusetts based companies to make the list.

AS&E is voted by HS Today as one of the elite “Rising 10” Homeland Security companies. AS&E sells its 500th ZBV system.

AS&E introduced the MINI Z™, the world's first handheld Z Backscatter® imaging scanner for fast, portable, real-time detection of hidden organic threats, such as drugs, contraband, plastic guns, ceramic knives, and explosives.

The MINI Z™ handheld Z Backscatter® screening system is named an ASIS Accolades Award winner and selected for the best in show, “Judge’s Choice” Award, from amongst all ASIS Accolades  winners.  The award recognizes the security industry’s most innovative new products.

The MINI Z™ handheld Z Backscatter® Screening System is named “Best of What’s New for 2014” by Popular Science magazine. This prestigious award is given each year to revolutionary new products and technologies that solve a previously unsolved problem.

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