Mars Recon Orbiter Gets a Hot Ride
11 Jun 2002
(Source: NASA Headquarters)
George H. Diller
Kennedy Space Center, Fla.
NASA has chosen the Atlas III expendable vehicle offered in a competitive bid by Lockheed Martin Commercial Launch Services, Inc. for the launch of NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter scheduled to occur in 2005. Lockheed Martin Commercial Launch Services is a division of International Launch Services of McLean, Va.
This is a firm fixed-price task order awarded under the terms of the current NASA Launch Services contract for intermediate-class launch services for which Lockheed Martin Commercial Launch Services is one of two selected providers.
The prime contractor for the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft is Lockheed Martin Astronautics in Denver, Colo., which is responsible for spacecraft design, integration of the science instruments and the support of mission operations. The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter mission is managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory which is a division of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, Calif.
The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft will weigh approximately 4,355 pounds (1,975 kg) and have a 200 by 155 mile-high (250 by 320 km) polar orbit around Mars. The spacecraft's instruments provide significant improvements in resolution and data volume over previous missions and are being developed by both U.S. and foreign investigator teams. The spacecraft also provides telecommunications and navigation support for future Mars missions. There is a 21- day planetary launch period for the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter that extends from August 8 to August 28, 2005.