NASA Astronauts Safely Splash Down after First Commercial Crew Flight to Space Station, Lockheed Martin Technology Protects NASA’s Mars 2020 Mission, BAE Systems Completes Acquisition of Military GPS Business, and More
NASA Astronauts Safely Splash Down after First Commercial Crew Flight to Space Station
Two NASA astronauts splashed down safely in the Gulf of Mexico Sunday for the first time in a commercially built and operated American crew spacecraft, returning from the International Space Station to complete a test flight that marks a new era in human spaceflight. SpaceX’s Crew Dragon, carrying Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley, splashed down under parachutes in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Pensacola, Florida, at 2:48 p.m. EDT Sunday and was successfully recovered by SpaceX.
Lockheed Martin Technology Protects NASA’s Mars 2020 Mission
Lockheed Martin developed the technology behind the aeroshell that will protect NASA’s newest Mars rover, Perseverance, and deploy the first-ever Mars helicopter. The Mars 2020 spacecraft with its Perseverance rover launched July 30 from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket.
The Perseverance rover, built by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), will study the geology of Mars while searching for signs of past microbial life, collects samples of rock, and will even set the stage for human exploration to the planet. The 2,260-pound rover is enclosed in an aeroshell capsule that protects the rover during its seven-month deep space flight and atmospheric descent toward the Martian surface. Lockheed Martin built this large aeroshell and every previous NASA aeroshell sent to the Red Planet. The mission also debuts the first helicopter designed for another planet, named Ingenuity, to test autonomous flight on Mars. Lockheed Martin was tasked by JPL to build the Mars helicopter delivery system (MHDS) that will deploy the helicopter to the Martian surface for its flight. The delivery system was designed by Lockheed Martin collaboratively with JPL and attaches the Ingenuity helicopter to the belly of the rover. The lightweight system was designed to reliably deploy the 4-pound helicopter to the surface using four pyrotechnic separation events. It also protects Ingenuity from debris during landing with a durable, yet light, composite debris shield.
BAE Systems Completes Acquisition of Military GPS Business
BAE Systems completed its acquisition of the Collins Aerospace Military Global Positioning System (GPS) business from Raytheon Technologies Corporation, bringing decades of experience, innovative technology, and an extensive installed base of products to the company. The Military GPS business has been a pioneer in its field for more than 40 years and has a global installed base in excess of 1.5 million devices on more than 280 airborne, ground, and weapon system platforms. The business designs and produces advanced, hardened, and secure GPS products with a range of form factors, including products designed for space-constrained and harsh environments.
Northrop Grumman Provides Navigation System for NASA’s Perseverance Mars Rover Mission
Northrop Grumman Corporation will once again be the provider of an inertial measurement unit (IMU) to support an expedition to Mars. It will land at Mars’ Jezero Crater on Feb. 18, 2021. The mission’s four major scientific objectives include studying the planet’s habitability, seeking biosignatures of past life, collecting core samples of the surface, and testing oxygen production in the planet’s atmosphere. Northrop Grumman’s LN-200S IMU will be mounted deep inside the Rover, providing data during the ground mission. The LN-200S is a reliable, low cost, lightweight IMU featuring three fiber optic gyroscopes and three silicon Micro Electro-Mechanical Systems accelerometers.
Perspecta announced that BPM+ Health named Perspecta’s Chief Medical Information Officer (CMIO) Shane McNamee M.D. to perform a similar role within their organization. In this role, McNamee will establish the unique clinical value proposition for the BPM+ Health community as well as the activities to asses and drive community-wide health care automation priorities. McNamee will also foster collaborative relationships between existing health care standards bodies and industry and serve as a liaison between clinical and technical communities.
Perspecta also announced that it has named Jennifer Swindell as senior vice president and general manager of the company’s risk decision group. In this position, Swindell is responsible for advancing the company’s trusted workforce initiatives and growing its risk decision business, along with managing day-to-day operations for Perspecta’s background investigations services. Swindell joins Perspecta after a nearly 20-year career at Booz Allen Hamilton serving in roles of increasing responsibilities throughout her tenure, most recently as senior vice president of the company’s U.S. departments of Justice, Homeland Security and Transportation accounts.
Featured Image: SpaceX’s Crew Dragon, carrying NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley, splashes down in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Pensacola, Florida at 2:48 p.m. EDT Aug. 2, 2020, where the spacecraft is recovered by SpaceX and brought aboard the recovery ship ‘Go Navigator.’ | Photo Credit: Nasa