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NASA’s Orion travels with Honeywell, Lockheed Martin

June 26, 2020  - By

Honeywell, under a contract with Lockheed Martin, will supply guidance and navigation systems for NASA’s upcoming Artemis missions, which will fly humans to the moon for the first time since 1972.

The companies are supplying key components to NASA’s Orion spacecraft fleet for the Artemis missions. Components include the barometric altimeter, the inertial measurement system, and the GPS receiver.

Honeywell will provide 14 product types for Artemis missions III through V, including both hardware and software solutions, to support NASA’s lunar missions. NASA awarded Lockheed Martin a long-term, multibillion-dollar production contract for the Orion spacecraft, aimed to meet the space agency’s anticipated needs into the 2030s.

Working in collaboration with the Orion team over the next decade, Honeywell will support Lockheed Martin and its partners through the development and production of essential guidance and navigation systems, command data handling, and display and control products. The focus of the missions is to conduct science and learn lessons that will help take humans to Mars.

Honeywell will supply the following types of technology for the Artemis missions:

First Orion Spacecraft: In this March 30 photo, Orion I is moved to the Final Assembly and Systems Test cell at Kennedy Space Center. The spacecraft returned from Ohio after a successful series of environmental tests at Glenn Research Center’s Plum Brook Station. (Photo: NASA)

First Orion Spacecraft: In this March 30 photo, Orion I is moved to the Final Assembly and Systems Test cell at Kennedy Space Center. The spacecraft returned from Ohio after a successful series of environmental tests at Glenn Research Center’s Plum Brook Station. (Photo: NASA)

Guidance and Navigation Systems. Key navigation and guidance solutions, including the barometric altimeter, which tracks the altitude of the Orion capsule in Earth’s atmosphere, as well as the inertial measurement system (INS) and GPS receiver, which track the position and movements of the capsule.

Command Data Handling. Several data-handling products, including the vehicle management computer, which acts as the central computing platform supporting flight and vehicle control, as well as spacecraft communication functions.

Displays and Controls. Three display units and struts, seven control panels, and two hand controllers used inside the spacecraft to help astronauts in the Orion capsule monitor and control the vehicle.

Core Flight Software. Includes the integrated modular avionics software, a key system responsible for supporting maintenance functions sharing flight data information.

The contract to supply key components of the Orion crew module and service module is being managed and performed out of Honeywell’s facility in Clearwater, Florida. Work is also being conducted at the company’s facilities in Glendale, Arizona, and Puerto Rico.

Honeywell was part of NASA’s previous crewed space missions, including those that took humans to the moon.


Featured image: Artist’s concept: NASA

About the Author:


Senior Editor Tracy Cozzens joined GPS World magazine in 2006. She also is editor of GPS World’s newsletters and the sister website Geospatial Solutions. She has worked in government, for non-profits, and in corporate communications, editing a variety of publications for audiences ranging from federal government contractors to teachers.

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