Honeywell Wins NASA Software of the Year Award

December 9, 2015

(Kevin Morrill, Honeywell Project Engineer accepts the NASA Software of the Year Award on behalf of Honeywell's Absolute Navigation Flight Software Team)

For more than five years Kevin Morrill, Orion Navigation Flight Software Project Engineer at Aerospace-Clearwater in Florida, and his team of software engineers worked diligently on the Absolute Navigation Flight Software component of the Orion Guidance, Navigation and Control (GN&C) Flight Software program. The hard work paid off Nov. 12 when they and other GN&C team members were honored with NASA’s Software of the Year award.

The award recognized all parts of the GN&C Flight Software, including the Absolute Navigation component developed by Honeywell. This component makes up about 70 percent of the total GN&C flight software. Its purpose is to maintain the space vehicle’s current inertial navigation state including position, velocity and attitude. It also provides flight control data including angular rate, delta velocity and summed delta velocity for the Orion multi-purpose crew vehicle.

It takes a lot of hardworking and dedicated people to make a program like this successful,” said Morrill. “We overcame some unique challenges including working across several companies, several Honeywell sites and several time zones. Our team was extremely talented, did a high quality job and worked together very well to assure the job was done right.”

Honeywell’s Absolute Navigation (ANAV) flight software team included over 20 team members from Lockheed Martin, NASA’s Johnson Space Center and four Honeywell sites. Aerospace employees key to the program’s success included Jody Crouch, Lisa Han, Chris Harvey, Jake Horky, Kevin Key, Fan Liu, Ben Meier, Chris Moser, Dave Oelschlaeger and Yueping Zeng.

With team members located at various sites across the U.S., they developed a collaborative work process to understand and assure all pieces of the program worked together properly. The team also developed a state-of-the-art model-based software engineering approach that integrated systems analysis and software engineering activities essential to the product development process for a seamless work flow transitioning algorithm design to code to test. This process was used across all GN&C software product development teams at Lockheed Martin and NASA’s Johnson Space Center to develop the other GN&C software components as well.

Morrill said being part of this program is the highlight of his 28-year career at Honeywell. 

I was surprised that we won such an esteemed national award,” he said. “It is incredibly gratifying to be recognized for our efforts and to have been a part of the successful Orion flight test last December.” 

The NASA Software of the Year Award presentation took place at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. The ANAV flight software team was recognized for its outstanding software development and team members who set high standards for significant software that is creative, usable, transferable and possesses inherent quality.

NASA’s Orion spacecraft program passed its first flight test in December 2014, with future plans calling for a manned mission beyond Earth’s orbit in 2021. It will also be used for a trip to an asteroid by the mid-2020s, and on to Mars and its moons in the 2030s. The 2021 manned mission will be the first time astronauts have left Earth’s orbit in nearly 50 years; the last time was the Apollo 17 moon shot in 1972.