The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory has awarded Northrop Grumman a $3 million contract to supply the navigational system for NASA’s Solar Probe Plus satellite.
Northrop will build the Scalable Space Inertial Reference Unit to help the robotic shuttle stay on its flight path using the company’s hemispherical resonator gyro technology, Northrop said Tuesday.
Bob Mehltretter, vice president for navigation and positioning systems at Northrop, said the Scalable SIRU will work to generate the necessary information during the probe’s maiden voyage to the sun.
“The system is equipped with redundant components that meet the strict, high performance requirements of the anticipated seven-year mission,” Mehltretter said.
NASA’s planned Solar Probe Plus mission will collate data from the near-sun environment through measuring and imaging tools to help scientists understand solar wind and its effect on planet Earth.