The University of Colorado at Boulder’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics said Nov. 16 that it has delivered a $20 million remote sensing instrument package to Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Denver for integration with a NASA-funded Mars orbiter launching late next year.
The Imaging Ultraviolet Spectograph (IUVS) and related electronics is one of three science payloads that NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution, or Maven, orbiter will carry when it launches in November 2013 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket. The $670 million mission is designed to shed light on how the loss of atmospheric gas has changed the climate of Mars over the eons.
“With the delivery of this package, we are shifting from assembling the basic spacecraft to getting the science instruments onto the spacecraft,” said University of Colorado at Boulder professor Bruce Jakosky, the mission’s principal investigator.
David Mitchell, the Maven project manager at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., said in a statement that the remote sensing package the university team delivered met all technical requirements and was delivered on time and on budget.
In addition to the ultraviolet spectrograph, Maven will carry the Particles and Field Package, which is a six-instrument suite built by the University of California at Berkeley, and the Neutral Gas and Ion Spectrometer, which is being provided by Goddard.
Maven is slated to enter Mars orbit in September 2014 and undergo a one-month checkout period before beginning its yearlong primary mission.