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Lockheed Spacecraft Headed to Lunar Orbit for NASA’s Uncrewed Artemis Mission; Robert Lightfoot Quoted

A Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) spacecraft launched aboard NASA’s Space Launch System rocket early Wednesday in the start of the agency’s program to land humans again on the lunar surface.

The uncrewed Orion separated from the SLS upper stage at a speed of 22,600 mph two hours after liftoff at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on a mission to travel about 40,000 miles beyond the moon and return to Earth over a period of 25.5 days, Lockheed said Wednesday.

Boeing (NYSE: BA) built the core stage that powered the rocket for the Artemis 1 test flight.

Robert Lightfoot, executive vice president of Lockheed’s space business, said Wednesday’s launch marks a step in human deep space exploration.

“Through a nationwide industry team that has also leveraged an international industrial base, this launch and mission unite the skills of a dedicated workforce and innovative technologies to make a global impact,” said Lightfoot, a two-time Wash100 winner.

The uncrewed mission also launched a second payload from Terran Orbital (NYSE: LLAP) that serves as an infrared imaging camera designed to capture surface spectroscopy and thermography.

Other industry contributions for Artemis I are booster and upper stage avionics from L3Harris Technologies (NYSE: LHX), launch processing services from Jacobs (NYSE: J), solid rocket boosters from Northrop Grumman (NYSE: NOC), thrust vector control actuators and controllers from Moog and advanced microelectronics from CAES.

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