Lockheed Martin completes MAVEN assembly
Feb, 13, 2013, Bethesda, Md. - Lockheed Martin has completed the final assembly for NASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) spacecraft, which is scheduled for launch in November 2013.
MAVEN is a robotic exploration mission that aims to identify the role that loss of atmospheric gas into space played in changing the climate of Mars and how much atmosphere has been lost over time.
It is the next mission to Mars and will be the first mission to understand the Martian upper atmosphere.
The orbiter will now undergo environmental testing at the Lockheed Martin's Space Systems facilities near Denver, Colorado, U.S.
During this phase, the company will carry out a number of tests that simulate the extreme temperatures, vacuum and vibration the spacecraft will experience over the course of its mission.
Lockheed Martin Space Systems MAVEN program manager Guy Beutelschies said: "Environmental testing is a crucial set of activities designed to ensure the spacecraft can operate in the extreme conditions of space."
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center MAVEN project manager David Mitchell said this phase of the program is particularly important as it will provide a good assessment of the MAVEN system's capabilities under the simulated extremes of the space environment.
"Of significance, the spacecraft is entering system level test right on schedule, while maintaining robust cost and schedule reserves to deal with the technical or programmatic surprises that could occur during test or in the run to launch," Mitchell added.
Currently, MAVEN is being readied at Lockheed Martin's Reverberant Acoustic Laboratory to undergo acoustics testing that will demonstrate the maximum sound and vibration levels the spacecraft will experience at the time of launch.
Following the acoustics test, the orbiter will be subjected to additional tests including separation/deployment shock, sine vibration, electromagnetic interference/electromagnetic compatibility (EMI/EMC), and magnetics testing.
MAVEN will be shipped to NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, in August where it will be prepared for launch.