DENVER, June 19, 2019 / PRNewswire / – Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) was chosen to design two small deep space spacecraft to visit asteroids close to Earth on a mission called Janus, led by University of Colorado Boulder. One of the finalists in NASA's groundbreaking mission for planetary exploration (SIMPLEx), Janus was designed to fly through two binary asteroids, or asteroids orbiting a common center of mass, to visualize the system using visible and infrared cameras. These small satellites will be launched in 2022 to reach the asteroid system in 2026.
"We are excited to partner with University of Colorado in this challenging mission of being among the first small sats to return scientific data beyond the Earth's orbit, "he said. Chris McCaa, Janus Program Manager at Lockheed Martin Space. "Janus will provide the opportunity to combine our long-standing missionary success in deep space with the satellite's small paradigm, helping to pave the way for a new generation of deep space explorers. Combining our history of delivering missions and investigations led by researchers caliber of this scientific team will give us a greater understanding of how our solar system works. "
Disappointed for this next phase of NASA's SIMPLEx program, Lockheed Martin will be working on the preliminary review of the project. SIMPLEx is a cost-effective program that focuses on scientific research in any body of the Solar System, except for the Earth and the Sun, using small spacecrafts lighter than 180 kg. The Janus mission is designed to meet these requirements. The mission will investigate how binary asteroids form and evaluate existing theories about how these ever-changing systems evolve.
Deep space missions present challenges beyond what the typical mission of small satellites finds in Earth's low orbit. For example, power systems must cope with a range of distances from Sun and telecommunication systems must be able to transmit over long distances and be compatible with the Deep Space Network. Lockheed Martin brings the experience of integrating the deep space exploration system into the design of these double class SP satellites, weighing about 40 kg each.
"All deep space missions require a balance of reliability and scheduling to be successful and, unlike a mission to the Earth's low orbit, you should know the planetary launch window. Asteroids will not wait for us," he said. McCaa. "To meet these challenges, we will be applying proven methods of missions such as OSIRIS-REX and Lucy, as well as leveraging the lessons learned from the development of other small missions such as LunIR."
Janus's mission is led by the 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 provide mission operations after launch. Malin Space Science Systems will provide the instrument cluster, including visible and infrared cameras. The selected investigations will be managed by the Office of the Planetary Missions Program at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama as part of the Solar System Exploration Program at NASA headquarters in Washington.
About Lockheed Martin
Based in Bethesda, MarylandLockheed Martin is a global aerospace and security company that employs approximately 105,000 people worldwide and is primarily engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and maintenance of advanced technology systems, products and services.
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