Northrop Guidance Device To Fly on Mercury Orbiter

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EADS Astrium GmbH has selected a Northrop Grumman-supplied inertial reference system to use on the Mercury Planetary Orbiter expected to launch in 2014 as part of Europe’s BepiColombo mission, Northrop Grumman’s Navigation Systems Division announced Sept. 9.

Northrop Grumman, which did not disclose the value of the contract, said that it would be providing EADS Astrium with a flight-proven Scalable Space Inertial Reference Unit that will be installed on the Mercury Planetary Orbiter to supply the spacecraft with data critical to spacecraft stabilization, pointing and attitude control.

The orbiter is due to arrive at Mercury six years after launch and spend one to two years gathering data.