Discovery and exploration are hallmarks of the American character. Since the days of Lewis and Clark, Americans have thrived on it, always searching for a new frontier to explore and the new possibilities it offers. It is in that spirit that we first entered the space race and, today, we continue our exploration of space with the same breathless anticipation of what we might find as we did when we first dipped our toes into that vast sea of black.
As a child, I was fascinated with space travel. My favourite shows were Lost in Space (“Danger, Will Robinson!”) and Star Trek. The idea of meeting beings from other worlds, seeing new planets, and encountering unexpected environments was exciting. How would it change us? What would come next? When Apollo 11 landed on the Moon and Neil Armstrong said those magic words, “One small step for man; one giant leap for mankind,” I was hooked. My dad and I started building a model of the Apollo rocket that day, and I’ve never looked back.
That excitement carries through to today, though space exploration has taken on an added significance for me that goes past the joy of discovering something new in the “great beyond.” Each step we take fuels our efforts to improve the lives we live here on Earth and provides a path to our continued persistence to learn about those things that can improve our lives and ensure our survival. To these ends, I’m proud to lead All Points in assisting NASA and NOAA on a number of missions designed to help fulfil these important goals.
For example, NOAA’s GOES-16 (previously called GOES-R) is a series of geostationary operational environmental satellites that provide atmospheric and surface measurements of the Earth’s western hemisphere, helping forecasters issue earlier and more accurate severe weather warnings. NASA’s OSIRIS-REx is providing data on the Yarkovsky effect—the thermal force on a potentially hazardous asteroid, in order to help us learn how to avoid a possible collision with the Earth. Mars missions, such as Maven, SCIM, Mars Odyssey, and the Mars Reconnaissance Observer are designed to study the planet’s evolution over time and its current state in order to provide context for the Earth’s evolution. Most exciting of all, NASA’s Orion multi-purpose crew vehicle is scheduled to perform several missions, including asteroid redirection, sending astronauts to Mars, and other exploratory missions within our Solar System.
All Points provides engineering and software development and testing on these and other missions to space, helping build and expand the infrastructure needed to make the most of what we can learn from exploration and discovery to improve global communications, provide new avenues for commerce, advance scientific knowledge, and improve national and global security. These are important goals for the United States and the world.
The child in me is still excited by space and all we can learn from it, making my work and that of All Points’ employees even more interesting and, to be completely honest, fun! I still ask the same questions: “What’s next?” “How far will we go?” Will Star Trek become a reality? I hope our work will help answer those questions, and in the meantime, our team will work to ensure we provide our best to the important missions we are honoured to support.