Lockheed Martin has signed an agreement to deploy a six-unit miniaturized lunar research satellite as part of NASA‘s Orion Exploration Mission-1 in 2018.
Lockheed said Monday the SkyFire satellite is designed with an infrared camera that will work to capture high-quality images of the moon’s surface.
NASA will receive SkyFire-gathered data during the EM-1 mission as part of the agreement.
“The CubeSat will look for specific lunar characteristics like solar illumination areas,” said James Russell, SkyFire principal investigator at Lockheed.
“With less mass and better instruments, we can get closer, explore deeper and learn more about the far reaches of our solar system,” Russell added.
The company also seeks to help researchers examine soil conditions as well as discover landing sites and livable areas on other planets with SkyFire’s infrared technology.
Lockheed partnered with the University of Colorado Boulder to develop the CubeSat.