03 Sep Winning the 2019 Rigel: The Preeminent Award for the Flagship Space Program
Titusville, FL – September 3, 2021 – Nothing is quite as inspiring to a space-facing company as being an integral part of successfully sending humans deeper into space than ever before. The mere idea of a fragile human using technology and tenacity to break through Earth’s atmosphere is, simply put, amazing. Over the last decade, there has really been one way for a private company to be involved with the human side of deep space travel: Orion.
Since 2013, we have been deeply involved at every major milestone of the Orion program as subcontractor to Lockheed Martin (LM), developing the software and refining the technical capabilities of the multi-purpose crew vehicle that will carry astronauts beyond the Moon. We have staked much of our identity on this long-range endeavor, and it has paid off. We won the 2019 Rigel, Supplier of the Year Award, which is given to the outstanding small business in the Orion program that goes above and “beyond contractual obligations” to make the program a success.
See our Interview with All Points on the Award
What does it mean?
Rigel (pronounced Rye-jul) is a star in the Orion constellation. Although it is designated the Beta star, Rigel actually shines brighter than the Alpha star, Betelgeuse. Thus, “The Rigel Award is given to those subcontractors who shine above and beyond the call of duty for the Prime contractor,” reads the Lockheed-Martin award description. Above and beyond means several things: excellence in carrying out the contracted work, taking responsibility for a large scope of activities, and working as a true partner with both LM and NASA to innovate solutions for unknowable contingencies. For us, this award affirms that we have 1.) deliberately grown toward our strengths and toward full-life cycle software development, vehicle testing and training, and engineering support and 2.) have proven ourselves an adaptive prime partner capable of guiding subcontractors toward mission-focused outcomes. LM has 800 small business suppliers in 47 states and over 200 subcontractors specifically integral to Orion’s success. Only one is chosen as Supplier of the Year for the Orion program.
How did we get here?
Our work with the Orion program began in 2013 modestly with software development and validation for the multi-purpose crew vehicle (MPCV). During that time, we were able to establish ourselves as a deep talent pool with flexible capabilities and a unique big picture focus. In 2014, when LM awarded the Civil Space IDIQ contract, they delegated large chunks of responsibility under prime contract winners. We were a prime winner, among the largest in breadth of work assigned. This was a step forward for our team because it expanded our support beyond Orion to include multiple exploration and Earth-orbiting satellite programs. Within Orion, it meant we were taking on life-cycle responsibility for design, developing and testing software to test and run the spacecraft through navigation, avionics, and life support systems.
In 2018, All Points was awarded a follow-on to the Civil Space IDIQ Contract, the Space Technical Services IDIQ Master Agreement. Under this contract, we have rigorously tested Orion software and supported simulation deployment for flight controller training at Johnson Space Center and for ground controllers at Kennedy Space Center. Orion has formally been turned over to NASA for integration with the SLS as of January, and this is just the beginning of production— NASA Orion spacecraft provides support of up to 12 missions. After Artemis 1, preparations will be made for the spacecraft to support a crewed mission, modeling equations must be verified and/or adjusted, and the crew must be trained for Orion 2, which will put the first woman and next man on the Moon since 1972. NASA has already ordered six more spacecraft and will likely need up to 12 to fulfill its needs into their 2030 initiative of looking toward regular lunar exploration and then onto Mars.
The expanding horizon
Throughout our work with the Orion program, our team has grown by around 30%, working at every major node of the initiative from Integrated Test Laboratory in Denver to Mission Control in Houston, to the Ground Control System at Kennedy Space Center. Our team includes veterans of the Space Shuttle program, experts in physics, software and engineering, and testing and verification experts.
Our partnership mentality (no small factor in winning the Rigel award) comes from years of expertise in logistics and high-level program support. We care about the mission most of all. Our dedication translates to advocating in Congress, being available to brainstorm solutions, and working extra hours to meet milestones.
We are seizing a once-in-a-generation chance to contribute to human deep space exploration. Our mission-focused, critical services will continue to make All Points viable partners and experts in many arenas that require fastidious work in flight and ground system software, IT, sensor programs, and intelligence data. Orion is just the beginning—ultimately, our experiences with this project will enrich our company history and expand our horizons.
Note: Due to COVID, our public Rigel presentation ceremony is TBD.