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NASA Selects Five Aerospace Companies for Mars Orbiter Concepts

Jul 20, 2016 12:01 AM EDT
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Most commercial aerospace technology companies dream to be recognized and funded by the country's premiere space agency, NASA. And that's what the five new space engineering companies received when they were chosen by the agency to develop a concept each for the next generation Mars orbiter in line with the upcoming journey to Mars.

The intention is to work on a new generation of Mars orbiter that can work in line with supported human missions to the red planet and with NASA's plans of sending man to Mars in 2030. The companies awarded by NASA are Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Orbital ATK and Space Systems/Loral. They are tasked to develop a concept study for a spacecraft that could be built in time for 2020 mission, according to the New Scientist.

"We're excited to continue planning for the next decade of Mars exploration," Geoffrey Yoder, acting associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission said in a press release.

Telecommunications and global high-resolution imaging systems are vital in such orbiters. NASA is looking for the best concept technology that can provide the most efficient and the best communications, imaging and operational systems for the orbiter.

To aid in the development process, the Mars Exploration Program Analysis Group published a research on the scientific objective for a Mars orbiter earlier. The orbiter concept project is under the management of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

The project is in line with the launch of the new Mars 2020 rover that will take into the red planet an improved set of instruments that will enable scientists to search for signs of life on Mars. NASA plans to send humans to Mars in 2030 under its Journey to Mars mission. Aside from the new Mars 2020 rover, the agency also plans to launch Insight Lander in 2018.

 

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