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5th Space Launch Squadron Digital Transformation Team wins 2021 Innovation Award

5th Space launch Squadron Dragons logo. Its meaning is “Here be dragons.” (Courtesy graphic)

5th Space launch Squadron Dragons logo. Its meaning is “Here be dragons.” (Courtesy graphic)

“Cool Runnings” is the 5th Space Launch Squadron’s program in which members can help solve squadron problems, upvote ideas, get direct access to commander and front office, and obtain fast feedback. This group holds an idea blitz session where members can share ideas and improvements within the squadron. (Courtesy graphic)

“Cool Runnings” is the 5th Space Launch Squadron’s program in which members can help solve squadron problems, upvote ideas, get direct access to commander and front office, and obtain fast feedback. This group holds an idea blitz session where members can share ideas and improvements within the squadron. (Courtesy graphic)

The Launch Verification Database is a launch risk assessment database which is now able to send data in real time. Using new tools available on Platform 1, the team is reengineering how they do mission assurance. (Courtesy graphic)

The Launch Verification Database is a launch risk assessment database which is now able to send data in real time. Using new tools available on Platform 1, the team is reengineering how they do mission assurance. (Courtesy graphic)

CAPE CANAVERAL SPACE FORCE STATION, Fla. --

The 5th Space Launch Squadron Digital Transformation Team won the 2021 Colonel Bradford W. Parkinson U.S. Space Force Innovation Award.

This Department of the Air Force level award recognizes a team or individual who utilizes innovation to improve efficiency and operational readiness.

The 5th SLS has built a legacy of mission success through transforming outdated launch site processing to the digital age.

The team realized a need for innovation and applied three tools from Platform 1 to their daily operations: Mattermost - a secure messaging application, Jira - a work management tool, and Confluence - a collaborative workspace allowing easy access to shared information.

With these three tools, the team was able to:

  • Create Mattermost Day of Launch Channels which allows for secure, real-time updates on personal mobile devices.
  • Create the Launch Verification Database which transitioned the National Security Space Launch risk assessment database to a cloud-based Jira solution.
  • Create a SpaceX issue tracker with help from Silicon Mountain Technology (SMT), a software solution company contracted by the 5th SLS. This tracker automated issue ticket filtering and the process of uploading of data, which saved the team 120 man-hours per week.
  • Create Mission Pages through Confluence to easily share data through automatic distribution while updating instantaneously.
  • Automate Government Purchase Card Processing which streamlined workflow, transparency and eliminated emails.

“The old system in use was custom made for us and did a good job of providing us with specific tools,” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Dustin Stringer, flight chief for the Atlas Delta flight. “Because it was designed by a small team in house, it wasn't as flexible when new features came online or when we needed additional functionality.”

With the help from SMT, the Digital Transformation Team was able to put all they have learned to work for Space Launch Delta 45.

“SMT has been great for taking a holistic view of what we do, not only at the delta here, but also at Space Launch Delta 30 and Space Systems Command,” said Stringer. “They do a really great job at taking information and processes that everyone is working on and bridging the gaps that we don’t even know we have.”

According to U.S. Space Force Maj. Katherine Carroll, cloud center of excellence lead, winning the award was really encouraging to the entire team.

The 5th SLS Digital Transformation Team’s mission is to continuously support and empower 5th SLS members to innovate across flights, functional areas, and actively solve pain points to improve the squadron.

“One of our core functions that allowed for these innovations to take place is not only the environment and culture, but an internal idea process called Cool Runnings where people can quickly vote on and submit ideas,” said Carroll.

The “Cool Runnings” program encourages all members of the team to express their innovative solutions.

“This group helps solve problems, upvote ideas, and has direct access to the commander and front office with fast feedback,” said Carroll.

With the innovation efforts of the Digital Transformation Team, help from mission partners like SMT, and a lot of encouragement from leadership, they were able to enhance mission assurance – leading to 100% launch success for 55 missions.

“We all realized how small things add up to something really big,” said Carroll. “It does not have to be this massive undertaking; when a lot of people work toward a common goal such as Brig. Gen. Purdy’s vision of digital transformation, really awesome things do come out of it.”

 


 

Below is a list of the Digital Transformation team members and their roles on the project:

1.     Lt. Col. David Schill – Commander and Champion (started in June 2021 - December 21) for all innovation projects

a.     Jira-based Launch Verification Database

b.     Confluence-based Mission Pages

c.     Jira-based mission support tools

2.     Lt. Col. Mason Phelps – Commander and Champion (from January 2021 - June 2021) for all innovation projects

a.     Mattermost Day of Launch (DoL) Channels

b.     Jira-based Launch Verification Database

c.     Jira-based SpaceX Issue Tracker

d.     Jira-based mission support tools­­

3.     Maj. Kyle Clements – Director of Operations (from June 2021 - December 2021) for all innovation projects

a.     Jira-based Launch Verification Database

b.     Confluence-based Mission Pages

c.     Jira-based mission support tools

4.     Maj. Gregory Allen – Director of Operations (from January 2021 -June 2021) founding member

a.     Mattermost Day of Launch (DoL) Channels

b.     Jira-based Launch Verification Database

c.     Jira-based SpaceX Issue Tracker

d.     Jira-based mission support tools­­

5.     Maj. Glen Pry

a.     Jira-based Launch Verification Database

b.     Jira-based SpaceX Issue Tracker

c.     Jira-based mission support tools­­

d.     Confluence-based Mission Pages

6.     Maj. Katherine Carroll

a.     Jira-based Launch Verification Database

b.     Confluence-based Mission Pages

c.     Jira/Confluence-based mission support tools­­ – implemented Jira based TDY tracker and tasker dashboard

7.     Capt. Andrew Starita

a.     Confluence-based Mission Pages

b.     Jira-based mission support tools­­ – came up with the idea

8.     Capt. Colby Thomas

a.     Confluence-based Mission Pages

9.     Capt. Oliver Chang

a.     Jira-based Launch Verification Database – Program Manager

10.  Capt. Jorge Martinez

a.     Jira-based Launch Verification Database

b.     Confluence-based Mission Pages

11.  Capt. Connor Gurley

a.     Leading up our next effort Confluence-based Commander’s Inspection Dashboard

12.  Master Sgt. Dustin Stringer

a.     Jira/Confluence-based mission support tools­­ – implemented the GPC tracking tool

b.     Jira-based Launch Verification Database

c.     Confluence-based Mission Pages

13.  Mr. Robert Allen

a.     Jira-based Launch Verification Database – huge contributor to LVDB

b.     Jira-based SpaceX Issue Tracker – huge contributor

14.  Mr. Thomas Williams

a.     Jira-based Launch Verification Database – big contributor to LVDB

b.     Provided feedback and support on all projects as the Chief Engineer

15.  Mr. Jack Bower

a.     Jira-based Launch Verification Database – big contributor to LVDB

b.     Confluence-based Mission Pages

16.  Ms. Kris Villarreal

a.     Mattermost Day of Launch (DoL) Channels

b.     Serves as the security officer and first identified that these tools were safe and brought them here with Maj. Allen

17.  Ms. Cyd Galarza Beigelman

a.     Jira-based Launch Verification Database – Support Contractor (Mantech) to LVDB

18.  Ms. Lisa Bongiovanni – Silicon Mountain Technologies Co-owner, project leads & developer

a.     MM Day of Launch (DoL) Channels

b.     Jira-based Launch Verification Database

c.     Jira-based SpaceX Issue Tracker

d.     Jira-based mission support tools­­

e.     Confluence-based Mission Pages

19.  Mr. Ryan Riker – Silicon Mountain Technologies Developer

a.     Jira-based Launch Verification Database

b.     Jira-based SpaceX Issue Tracker

c.     Jira-based mission support tools­­

d.     Confluence-based Mission Pages