Lockheed-Built ‘InSight’ Spacecraft Lands on Mars

A spacecraft that Lockheed Martin built for NASA’s Mars exploration mission landed Monday on the red planet’s surface.

The InSight Mars Lander made its descent on Elysium Planitia in the planet’s equatorial region and transmitted a tone through its X-band small deep space transponder seven minutes after the spacecraft’s landing, Lockheed said Monday.

The spacecraft fielded a pair of solar arrays to recharge the lander’s batteries 25 minutes after it sent the tone to inform about InSight’s status.

Two Jet Propulsion Laboratory-operated orbiters – 2001 Mars Odyssey and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter – will transmit ultra-high frequency information to the Earth during the Mars lander’s surface mission.

JPL oversees InSight’s navigation and mission management operations for the space agency’s science mission directorate as part of the Discovery Program.

Lockheed and NASA’s JPL teamed up with European organizations on the InSight mission.

IPGP and CNES of France supplied the Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure instrument, while Spain’s CAB and Germany’s DLR respectively provided the wind sensors and Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package system for the Mars lander.

Other institutions that took part in the mission include Germany’s Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research; the Swiss Institute of Technology; U.K.’s Imperial College and Oxford University; and the Polish Academy of Sciences and Astronika’s space research center.

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