ATKÂ announced that the company has received a contract from Lockheed Martin Space Systems to provide the UltraFlex solar arrays for NASA’s InSight Lander mission to Mars in 2016.
The mission aims to study the origins of what shaped the planets of the inner solar system, including Earth, more than four billion years ago.
David Shanahan, vice president and general manager of ATK’s Space Components division says that UltraFlex’s design can enable higher performance than typical spacecraft solar arrays.
“With spacecraft facing increasingly ambitious low-mass and constrained packaging requirements, ” Shanahan said. “ATK’s arrays deliver all the power our customers need with this enabling technology.”
InSight–or Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport–plans to use geophysical instrumentation to dig into Mars’ surface and measure the vitality of the red planet’s seismic activity, temperature and precision tracking.
The program is managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology for NASA, whereÂ Lockheed will build and operate the spacecraft.
UltraFlex’s design successfully passed critical design review in February 2014 and ATK is now fabricating the InSight arrays for testing later this year, planning for delivery in 2015.