The day Orion took flight
“It was a unique experience like none other to see Orion launch and I was thrilled to be able to share it with my son and many of my Orion software teammates,” said Diana Rodgers, a member of the Orion Flight Software Team who has been supporting the Orion project since 2010, even before S&K Global Solutions was awarded EPIC. “There were tears of joy all around me…okay, I had tears too! I am so proud to be one small part of this awesome team that is making a difference in the world for mankind!”
EPIC stands for Engineering Product Integration Contract, a grand title for a large contract that spans many support functions for projects at the Johnson Space Center Engineering Directorate. S&K is teamed with Booz Allen Hamilton and together they currently employ about 80 people.
Many S&K employees attended the Orion Experimental Flight Test (EFT) launch, including Houston S&K Sr. Program Manager, Barb DeBernardo, and S&K Technologies CEO, Tom Acevedo. Unfortunately, the launch was postponed nearly 24 hours because of technical difficulties, and Tom missed the liftoff.
Orion is NASA’s new human spacecraft designed for exploration and possibly a trip to Mars. It has been in development since 2005 and had its first unmanned test launch in December of this year. The technology used on Orion is some of the most advanced systems ever built.
NASA says, “It will be the safest, most advanced spacecraft ever built, and it will be flexible and capable enough to take us to a variety of destinations.”
One of the many tasks that S&K performs for NASA is integrated IT management. Over 40 labs and 1150 devices are part of our support network across many programs and projects, including the Capsule Parachute Assembly System (CPAS) on Orion. Employees rely on our specialists when it comes to IT security, systems, applications, database, and process improvement. Many groups utilize Microsoft’s SharePoint to manage documents and processes, and S&K provides technical administration to hundreds of these sites.
Lana Rouse, a project administrative specialist supporting CPAS along with Sylvia Paden and Erica Blackburn, attended a drop test for CPAS in Yuma, AZ, earlier this year preparing for inclusion in this test launch. “I just wanted to share how much I LOVE working on this team!” said Lana Rouse, after the successful launch of Orion.
“The team here in Houston is just outstanding,” said Barb DeBernardo. “Working on manned missions requires such dedication and commitment to excellence. It really permeates all we do.”
Tom Acevedo, who frequently visits office locations and who just returned from the launch in Cape Canaveral, Florida, had this to say about the experience; “The EPIC team is a crew of talented professionals and the entire S&K family is very proud of their work. It’s great to see how our small company can have an important role in something as big and fun as Orion.”