After working on NASA’s Orion spacecraft program for seven years, Honeywell engineer Heath Higgins received more than an accolade when he was presented with NASA’s Space Flight Awareness Award recently. It came with an invitation to be NASA’s guest to view the spacecraft’s successful first flight test in Florida last month.
Higgins, who works for Honeywell Aerospace in Glendale, Ariz., received the award in ceremonies Dec. 3 at the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort. The honor is one of NASA’s top awards, recognizing individuals for their dedication to quality work and flight safety.
Higgins was honored for his contributions developing modifications to hardware, software, or materials that increased the reliability, efficiency or performance on the Orion program. He serves as the Lead Systems Engineer for the Command and Data Handling (CDH) equipment group that Honeywell supplies to prime contractor Lockheed Martin for the Orion program, and is the Technical Manager of CDH Systems Engineers.
“It was great to get this award, but it was a team effort to accomplish what we did for this mission and I was just happy to be a part of it,” said Higgins, who met an astronaut and other awardees from the Johnson Space Center at the event.
Honeywell Aerospace designed and developed Orion’s command and data handling hardware, navigation systems and core operating software.
Higgins joined Honeywell seven years ago to work on the Orion program.
“I worked in military avionics while in the U.S. Navy and on satellites for my previous employer, but nothing tops working human space flight avionics for the Orion program,” he said.