Press Release

Malin Space Science Systems Wins 2015 NASA JPL Small Business Prime Contractor of the Year Award

By SpaceRef Editor
May 24, 2016
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Malin Space Science Systems has just been awarded NASA JPL Small Business Prime Contractor of the year.

Since 2008, NASA has been highlighting the key contributions that small businesses have made to NASA’s efforts. The Small Business Industry Awards (SBIA) recognize the outstanding Small Business Prime Contractors and Subcontractors that support NASA in achieving its mission. The program recognizes performance on every NASA contract (e.g. schedule, cost, etc.), responsiveness to contractual requirements, and ability to provide innovative solutions.

Malin Space Science Systems (MSSS) develops high-performance space flight imaging systems, operates them in flight, and does scientific research with the data they return. A small company with a staff whose area of expertise include instrument development and science, MSSS has provided imaging systems to fly on seven Mars missions and on one Jupiter mission managed by NASA JPL. MSSS cameras have provided a significant fraction of the core scientific capability on those missions. Most recently, MSSS developed and now operates the four color science cameras on the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover.

MSSS also developed the three cameras on the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter mission, which over the last six years, has mapped most of the Moon at meter resolution. MSSS also just delivered one of its modular ECAM space flight imaging systems for the NASA GSFC OSIRIS-REx asteroid sample return mission.

When approaching any particular opportunity, MSSS seeks to extract as much science value as it can within all the various constraints (mass, power, volume, cost, schedule, etc.). This approach has yielded a whole series of capable and cost-effective instruments. The Context Camera on-board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), which weighs just 3.3 kg, has mapped over 95 percent of Mars at a scale of 6m per pixel. The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC), which weighs less than 15 kg, has mapped more than half of the Moon at a scale of 0.5 to 2 m per pixel. Between the Mars Orbiter Camera on Mars Global Surveyor and the Mars Color Imager on MRO, MSSS has acquired and returned daily global weather maps of Mars since the late 1990’s.

As part of its ongoing effort to maximize cost-effectiveness, MSSS makes substantial use of small business subcontractors in its capacity as a prime contractor on instrument development projects for NASA and other missions.

MSSS’ future plans are to continue supporting NASA deep space science missions and the scientific community with innovative imaging system development. In the near term, that includes development of the Mastcam-Z instruments for the Mars 2020 rover. MSSS will also continue to market its ECAM modular space flight imaging system technologies to a broader range of customers (both NASA and non-NASA).

SpaceRef staff editor.