Press Release

Lockheed Martin Chosen by NASA and JPL to Build the 2005 Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter

By SpaceRef Editor
October 3, 2001
Filed under , ,

Lockheed Martin Space Systems –
Astronautics Operations, headquartered near Denver, Colo., has been selected
by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Jet
Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) to design and build the next in a series of
spacecraft to explore Mars.
The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter is scheduled for
launch in 2005.
The contract award was announced by JPL and NASA officials

“We are extremely pleased by the confidence that NASA and JPL have placed
in us at Lockheed Martin to build this key spacecraft for the Mars exploration
program,” said G. Thomas Marsh, president and general manager of Lockheed
Martin Space Systems – Astronautics Operations.
“We are fully committed to
this program and feel a tremendous sense of pride about our long-standing
history with NASA and JPL in support of their goal to learn more about the
planets in our solar system, our universe and our own world.”

This is the latest in a series of Mars missions.
It will provide low
altitude Mars remote sensing science observation, site investigation for
future spacecraft that will land on Mars’ surface, and telecommunications and
navigation relay capability for follow-on missions.
The contract will be
worked in three phases: concept and requirements definition, detailed
implementation and test and mission operations. The mission is managed by JPL.

Lockheed Martin designed and built the successful Mars Global Surveyor
spacecraft for NASA and JPL, which has far exceeded scientists’ expectations
of what they had hoped to obtain from that spacecraft’s imaging and mapping
Mars Global Surveyor successfully completed its primary mapping
mission in January 2001 and began an extended mission to continue mapping the
Red Planet’s surface for another 15 months.

“Our team is very excited and we are ready to begin development of the
Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter with JPL and the science instrument providers,”
said Kevin McNeill, Lockheed Martin’s program manager for the 2005 Mars
Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft.
“The Orbiter’s new science and imaging
capabilities will greatly enhance the data that has already been obtained by
Mars Global Surveyor and what we soon expect to obtain from the 2001 Mars
This team brings a wealth of experience to the mission, gained from
our experience on numerous Mars programs that have been developed with JPL and
the scientific community,” added McNeill.

The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter scientific payload currently includes
three categories: global monitoring via an atmospheric sounder and wide-angle
camera; regional surveys via a subsurface sounding radar and medium-angle
camera; and targeted observations via a high-resolution imager and visible-
near infrared imaging spectrometer.
In addition to the science payloads, the
Orbiter features a UHF navigation and communications package for use with
future missions and an optical navigation camera.

The 2005 Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter is scheduled for launch in August
The primary science mission phase will last for one Martian year
(approximately two Earth years), followed by a one-year relay phase in support
of future missions of the international Mars exploration program.
There is a
high potential for continuing science observation during this phase, giving
priority to evaluating landing sites for future missions.

Lockheed Martin has a long history of supporting NASA’s and JPL’s programs
for the exploration of Mars.
The company built the twin Viking spacecraft
that landed on Mars in 1976 and the Propulsion Module Subsystem that powered
Mariner 9 aboard the company’s Atlas/Centaur which launched Mariner 9 in 1971.
The Mars Global Surveyor was launched Nov. 7, 1996, entered orbit Sept. 12,
1997, and began its primary mapping mission in March 1999.
It has since
observed the planet from a low-altitude, nearly polar orbit over the course of
one complete Martian year, during which it has studied the entire Martian
surface, atmosphere and interior, and has returned more data about the Red
Planet than all previous Mars missions combined.

The 2001 Mars Odyssey spacecraft, also designed and built by Lockheed
Martin, began its flight to Mars April 7, 2001, and is on its way to continue
scientific reconnaissance of the Martian surface.
It will reach Mars on Oct.
23, 2001 (MDT).
While in orbit, the spacecraft will collect data to analyze
the global elemental composition of the planet, search for evidence of ancient
hot springs and mineral deposits, survey the radiation environment, and
provide a communications link with future spacecraft that land on Mars.

Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, headquartered in Denver, Colo., is
one of the major operating units of Lockheed Martin Corporation.
Systems designs, develops, tests, manufactures and operates a variety of
advanced technology systems for military, civil and commercial customers.
Chief products include a full range of space launch systems, ground systems,
remote sensing and communications satellites for commercial and government
customers, advanced space observatories and interplanetary spacecraft, fleet
ballistic missiles and missile defense systems.

Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global enterprise
principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture and
integration of advanced-technology systems, products and services.
Corporation’s core businesses are systems integration, space, aeronautics and
technology services. Lockheed Martin had 2000 sales surpassing $25 billion.

For more information about Lockheed Martin Space Systems and an artist’s
rendering of the 2005 Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, please visit: and

SpaceRef staff editor.