DENVER 19. June 2019 / PRNewswire / – Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) was selected to design small twin-space probes for visiting near-Earth asteroids in a mission called Janus, led by the University of Colorado Boulder . Janus, one of NASA's Small Innovative Mission for Planetary Exploration (SIMPLEx) finalists, flies with two binary asteroids or asteroids orbiting a common center of mass to image the system with both visible and infrared cameras. These small satellites will be launched in 2022 to reach the asteroid system in 2026.
"We are pleased to collaborate with the University of Colorado on this challenging mission as one of the first small satellites, from which scientific data will be returned beyond Earth orbit," said Chris McCaa Janus Program Manager at Lockheed Martin Space. "Janus will provide an opportunity to connect our long-standing legacy of missionary success in space with the small satellite paradigm, paving the way for a new generation of space explorers. The caliber of this science team will give us all a better understanding of the functioning of our solar system."
Lockheed Martin, who was not selected for this next phase of NASA's SIMPLEx program, will work toward a preliminary design review. SIMPLEx is a cost-effective program that focuses scientific research on all solar system bodies except Earth and the Sun using small spacecraft weighing less than 1
Space missions present challenges beyond what the typical small satellite mission in near-Earth orbit has to cope with. For example, power systems must handle a range of solar ranges, and telecommunications systems must be able to transmit over long distances and be compatible with the Deep Space Network. Lockheed Martin brings the experience of integrating space exploration systems into the design of these dual ESPA class small satellites, each weighing approximately 40kg.
"All space missions require a balance between reliability and deadline accuracy to be successful, and unlike a near-Earth orbital mission, you must reach the planet's launch window and the asteroids will not wait for us," McCaa said. "To meet these challenges, we will apply best practices from missions such as OSIRIS-REx and Lucy, and leverage the insights gained in the development of other small-scale satellite missions, such as LunIR."
The Janus Mission is by Principal Investigator Dan Scheeres of University of Colorado Boulder in Boulder, Colorado . If selected in the final phase, Lockheed Martin Space will design and build the spacecraft and perform mission operations after launch. Malin Space Science Systems will provide the instrument suite including visible and infrared cameras. The selected studies are managed by the Planetary Missions Program Office at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama (19459004) as part of the Solar System Exploration Program at NASA's Washington headquarters.
About Lockheed Martin
Lockheed Martin is headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland and employs approximately 105,000 people worldwide and worldwide Mainly engaged in research, design, development, manufacturing, integration and maintenance of advanced technology systems, products and services.
SOURCE Lockheed Martin