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Honeywell Space Engineers Count Down to Artemis I Launch

Honeywell Space Engineers Count Down to Artemis I Launch

Currently scheduled for Aug. 29, the Artemis I mission will mark one giant leap in humankind’s quest to return to the Moon for the first time in 50 years and eventually venture on to Mars. Artemis I and future missions for the Orion spacecraft will rely heavily on groundbreaking products and software developed by innovative engineers at Honeywell Aerospace. 

There are so many people working on this program at Honeywell, so it really does take a village and it’s amazing,” said Software Engineer Cinthya Tang. “I started here as an intern in 2016 helping out with the display unit and I remember my coworkers telling me ‘Your software is going to be in space.’ How cool is that!”

Working with Lockheed Martin, Honeywell is providing 14 product types for the Orion program, such as hardware for guidance and navigation, command data handling, and displays and controls. Honeywell also developed the core flight software for the spacecraft. Specially for Artemis I, Honeywell provides the full navigation and guidance system. This allows the spacecraft to know exactly where it’s going, stay on course, and stick the landing back on Earth. Additionally, Honeywell supplies the valves and actuators for the space launch system. That means we control the thrust on rockets that travel 73 times faster than the cars in the Indy 500.

“Honeywell has many different pieces of equipment on Orion and they all have dedicated teams working on them,” said Gerry Clarke, Systems Project Engineer. “My role is integrating all that equipment. This is a challenging program because much of the technology we’re developing is the first of its kind. But it’s also very rewarding and the first launch is really exciting, especially for a lifelong space geek like me who grew up in the 1960s, made cuttings from the newspapers and cheered when Neil Armstrong first stepped onto the Moon’s surface.”

Artemis I will be an uncrewed flight test. It will travel 280,000 miles from Earth and orbit the Moon before returning to Earth after a 4-6-week mission. Artemis II, scheduled to launch in 2024, will be the first crewed Orion mission with four astronauts onboard. It will perform a lunar flyby, taking humans beyond low-earth orbit for the first time since Apollo 17 in 1972.

A year later, Artemis III is scheduled to land humans – including the first woman and person of color – on the Moon and will leave behind equipment and tools future astronauts can use to establish a permanent presence on the Moon and prepare for an eventual trip to Mars. 

“One of the most important things about the Moon landing is that it will allow NASA and its partners – including Honeywell – to prove and perfect the technologies that will eventually take us to Mars,” Clarke said. “The Artemis missions are the first step to get us to Mars.”  

Working on Orion has been a rewarding experience for Tang. “The most amazing part is being able to work with people from all the different teams,” she said. “The people here are so talented and I’ve learned so much from everyone at Honeywell. It’s also satisfying to know that Lockheed Martin and NASA appreciate our hard work and the contributions we’re making to the program.”

Clarke agrees. “I was part of a group supplier representatives NASA invited to tour Kennedy Space Center. They had just finished stacking the spacecraft and we got to tour the vehicle-assembly building and see the whole vehicle stacked up from the core stage, the solid boosters, the second stage and then the Orion vehicle right on top. It was amazing to think I was part of this amazing human achievement.” For Tang, who joined Honeywell right out of engineering school, the Artemis I launch is something to look forward to. “I always thought space was interesting. I was into the Marvel movies, so seeing Ironman and all that fictional technology influenced me to want to be an engineer to see what could really be accomplished. What is really great about Honeywell is that when I came in as an intern, I wasn't treated as an intern. It wasn’t like, ‘Go get me coffee.’ I got to do real work and develop real software and now that software is going to be in space.”

Kailey Loud
Customer Marketing Specialist
Kailey Loud is the customer success Lead for Honeywell Aerospace.