CAPE CANAVERAL SPACE FORCE
STATION, Fla., Oct. 16, 2021
/PRNewswire/ -- Humankind is one step closer to unlocking new
knowledge about the formation of our solar system, thanks to a
spacecraft named Lucy built by Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT). The
NASA mission successfully launched from Florida at 5:34 a.m. ET
"Seeing Lucy start her journey reinforces the strength of the
500 team members from NASA, Lockheed Martin, the Southwest Research
Institute and many other teams who worked together to bring this
mission to life," said Rich Lipe,
Lockheed Martin Lucy program manager. "It's a tale centered on
flexibility, collaboration and ingenuity, which is fitting for the
voyage that lies ahead for this advanced spacecraft."
The spacecraft was designed, built and tested in Lockheed
Martin's Littleton facility, using
transformative technology. The company's mission operations team is
now in communications with the spacecraft and will operate it
through the end of its mission.
Lucy will be the farthest solar-powered mission from the Sun and
will visit a record-breaking number of asteroids – all in the name
of studying them for clues about our own origins.
Engineering for an Epic Journey
odyssey through the solar system will last 12 years and fly by
eight objects: one Main Belt asteroid and seven Trojan asteroids
that lead and trail Jupiter in its
Scientists are keen for an up-close look at these ancient rocks,
which are believed to be pristinely preserved leftovers from the
formation of our outer solar system 4 billion years ago.
With such a long, unforgiving journey through space, Lucy's
engineers designed the spacecraft to be ready for anything. Lucy
draws on heritage design elements from previous Lockheed
Martin-built missions like OSIRIS-REx and MAVEN.
Key features of the Lucy spacecraft include:
- Some 430 unique components, brought together by more than 2
miles of wire, 170 square feet of composite structure and more than
12,800 electrical connections
- Three powerful, primary instruments to study the geology,
composition and structure of the Trojan asteroids
- Two 24-foot diameter solar arrays built by Northrop Grumman,
spanning more than a four-story building when unfurled
- A robust thermal design that protects Lucy from extreme space
temperatures ranging from -250⁰F to +300⁰F
- Autonomous software that enables Lucy to track asteroid targets
as it flies by at an average speed of 15,000 mph
- Advanced production parts like 3D-printed brackets and harness
clamps, made from three different materials
The team also made use of the latest collaborative tools and
digital engineering techniques on Lucy, including automated
testing, digital test review capability and remote collaboration.
These tactics helped the team continue production without missing a
shift throughout the pandemic.
Seeking Science for the Next Generation
duration of Lucy's endeavor means that a student in 4th
grade now could find themselves working on this mission when they
The spacecraft also draws its name from another scientific
discovery that students may recognize from their history books.
Much like the 3.2-million-year-old Lucy skeleton fundamentally
changed our understanding of human evolution, this mission aims to
change the way we understand how the planets – including Earth –
Donald Johanson, who discovered
the famous fossil in 1974, is thrilled to see the spirit of
scientific exploration live on through the Lucy mission.
"The mission teaches us something about the interconnectedness
of people over time and space," he remarked. "A poignant moment in
the history of humanity that brings the past and the present
together – and launches us into the future."
More About the Mission
Lockheed Martin Space designed, built, tested and operates
Lucy out of its Littleton,
Colorado, facility. NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in
Greenbelt, Maryland, provides
overall mission management, systems engineering and safety and
mission assurance. The Boulder,
Colorado branch of Southwest Research Institute,
headquartered in San Antonio, TX,
is the principal investigator institution. Instruments were
contributed by NASA Goddard, Arizona State
University and Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory.
Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, manages the Discovery
Program for the agency's Science Mission Directorate in
Learn more about Lucy on LockheedMartin.com. For photos, check
out Lockheed Martin's Flickr page.
About Lockheed Martin
Headquartered in Bethesda,
Maryland, Lockheed Martin (NYSE:
LMT) is a global security and aerospace company that employs
approximately 114,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged
in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and
sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and
Please follow @LMNews on Twitter for the latest
announcements and news across the corporation.
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SOURCE Lockheed Martin