Lockheed Martin has assembled and integrated its spacecraft for NASA and is now preparing for environmental testing ahead of its scheduled November launch for a Mars mission.
That testing phase for the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution spacecraft will occur for six months at Lockheed facilities near Denver, the company said Friday.
After testing, the company will transfer its MAVEN spacecraft to the Kennedy Space Center for final launch preparations.
Bruce Jakosky and his team from the University of Colorado at Boulder’s laboratory for atmospheric and space physics designed and built the spacecraft and the science instruments that will be used in the tests, which will include simulations of space conditions.
“Environmental testing is a crucial set of activities designed to ensure the spacecraft can operate in the extreme conditions of space,” said Guy Beutelschies, Lockheed MAVEN program manager.
MAVEN’s mission will be to investigate how much of Mars’ atmospheric has been lost into space over time by measuring the current rate of escape to space and gathering information about how the gas escapes into space.
CU-Boulder provides science operations, science instruments and lead education and public outreach initiatives for the MAVEN program and the University of California at Berkley also provides science instruments for the spacecraft.
NASA“™s Goddard Space Flight Center manages the project and is providing two of the science instruments for the mission while NASA“™s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., provides navigation support for MAVEN.
The Deep Space Network and the Electra telecommunications relay hardware and operations, Lockheed said.