NASA’s OSIRIS-REx Completes Final Tour of Asteroid Bennu

This image shows a top-down view of asteroid Bennu, with a portion of the asteroid’s equatorial ridge and northern hemisphere illuminated. It was taken by the PolyCam camera on NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft on March 4, 2021, from a distance of about 186 miles (300 km). The spacecraft’s cameras are pointed directly at Bennu’s north pole. Two large equatorial craters are visible on the asteroid’s edge (center and center left). The image was obtained during the mission’s Post-TAG Operations phase, as the spacecraft slowly approached Bennu in preparation for a final observational flyby on April 7. (Credit: NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona)

By Rani Gran
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

GREENBELT, Md. — NASA’s OSIRIS-REx completed its last flyover of Bennu around 6 a.m. EDT (4 a.m. MDT) April 7 and is now slowly drifting away from the asteroid; however, the mission team will have to wait a few more days to find out how the spacecraft changed the surface of Bennu when it grabbed a sample of the asteroid.

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Lockheed Martin Expands Quick, Affordable Launch Capability With ABL Block Buy of 58 Flights

RS1 integrated stage test (Credit: ABL Space Systems)

DENVER and EL SEGUNDO, Calif., April 5, 2021 (Lockheed Martin/ABL Space Systems PR) — ABL Space Systems will provide Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] with routine launches of RS1 rockets to accelerate payload technologies into orbit. Lockheed Martin will purchase up to 26 vehicles through 2025 and then up to 32 additional launches through 2029. Launches could use a network of U.S. and international launch sites, including Vandenberg Space Force Base, Cape Canaveral Space Force Station and in the United Kingdom.

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NASA’s InSight Detects Two Sizable Quakes on Mars

NASA’s InSight lander used a scoop on its robotic arm to begin trickling soil over the cable connecting its seismometer to the spacecraft on March 14, 2021, the 816th Martian day, or sol of the mission. Scientists hope insulating it from the wind will make it easier to detect marsquakes. (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

The magnitude 3.3 and 3.1 temblors originated in a region called Cerberus Fossae, further supporting the idea that this location is seismically active.

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — NASA’s InSight lander has detected two strong, clear quakes originating in a location of Mars called Cerberus Fossae – the same place where two strong quakes were seen earlier in the mission. The new quakes have magnitudes of 3.3 and 3.1; the previous quakes were magnitude 3.6 and 3.5. InSight has recorded over 500 quakes to date, but because of their clear signals, these are four of the best quake records for probing the interior of the planet.

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NASA OSIRIS-REx’s Final Asteroid Observation Run

This artist’s concept shows the planned flight path of NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft during its final flyby of asteroid Bennu, which is scheduled for April 7. (Credits: NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona)

By Brittany Enos
University of Arizona

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission is on the brink of discovering the extent of the mess it made on asteroid Bennu’s surface during last fall’s sample collection event. On Apr. 7, the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft will get one last close encounter with Bennu as it performs a final flyover to capture images of the asteroid’s surface. While performing the flyover, the spacecraft will observe Bennu from a distance of about 2.3 miles (3.7 km) – the closest it’s been since the Touch-and-Go Sample Collection event on Oct. 20, 2020.

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Shetland Spaceport Shot Down Over Historic Site Concerns

Launch from Shetland (Credit: Lockheed Martin)

Shetland Space Centre’s (SSC) plans to build a spaceport on the old Royal Air Force Skaw radar station has been shot down, spelling potential doom for the project and Lockheed Martin’s plans to launch satellites from site in northern Scotland. The Shetland Times reports.

Historic Environment Scotland (HES)  said it would cause “extensive and adverse impact on the cultural significance” of Skaw radar station.

However, SSC chief executive Frank Strang has hit back saying he would “vigorously contest” the refusal.

Mr Strang said he was “greatly surprised” by the decision, claiming HES had  “done nothing to preserve the site for the last 50 years”.

Skaw is the UK’s most northerly Second World War radar station and protected as a scheduled monument of national importance.

The proposed space centre would be built almost entirely with in the RAF radar station site.

It would require the removal of nine buildings, including air raid shelters, guard huts and those associated with the radar system. 

Lockheed Martin And Omnispace Explore Space-Based 5G Global Network

LITTLETON, Colo. and TYSONS, Va., March 23, 2021 (Lockheed Martin/Omnispace PR) — Omnispace, LLC and Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT), have entered into a strategic interest agreement to explore jointly developing 5G capability from space. The proposed global 5G standards-based non-terrestrial network (NTN) would offer commercial, enterprise and government devices ubiquitous communications worldwide. This type of network has the potential to redefine mobile communications, benefiting users requiring true mobility, regardless of environment or location.

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NOAA’s GOES-T Weather Satellite Completes Critical Testing in Preparation for December 2021 Launch

DENVER (NOAA PR) — NOAA’s GOES-T, the third in a series of advanced geostationary weather satellites, recently completed rigorous testing to ensure it can withstand the harsh conditions of launch and orbiting in space 22,236 miles above Earth.

During thermal vacuum testing, GOES-T was placed in a large 29 feet x 65 feet chamber and subjected to a vast range of temperatures, soaring as high as 188 degrees Fahrenheit (87 degrees Celsius) and dropping as low as minus 67 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 55 degrees Celsius) to simulate the extreme temperatures of launch and the space environment.

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Aerojet Rocketdyne Stockholders Approve Proposed Acquisition by Lockheed Martin

Orion launch abort system test. (Credit: Aerojet Rocketdyne)

EL SEGUNDO, Calif., March 9, 2021 (Aerojet Rocketdyne PR) – Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: AJRD) today announced that, at a special meeting held on March 9, 2021, Aerojet Rocketdyne’s stockholders approved the merger agreement providing for the proposed acquisition of Aerojet Rocketdyne by Lockheed Martin Corporation (NYSE: LMT).

Approximately 99.76% of the shares whose holders were present in person or by proxy at the special meeting were voted in favor of the adoption of the merger agreement and the transactions contemplated thereby, which represented approximately 78.78% of the total number of shares of Aerojet Rocketdyne common stock issued and outstanding as of the close of business on February 4, 2021, the record date for the special meeting.

The transaction is expected to close in the second half of 2021, pending receipt of regulatory approval under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, as amended, and satisfaction of other closing conditions specified in the merger agreement.

About Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings, Inc.

Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings, Inc., headquartered in El Segundo, California, is an innovative technology-based manufacturer of aerospace and defense products and systems, with a real estate segment that includes activities related to the entitlement, sale, and leasing of the Company’s excess real estate assets. More information can be obtained by visiting the Company’s websites at www.rocket.com or www.aerojetrocketdyne.com.

Lockheed Martin And NEC Put AI To Work On Programs Like NASA’s Artemis Mission

Orion is revealed for one of the final times on Jan. 14, as it is readied atop its transport pallet from the Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, along its path to the pad ahead of the Artemis I launch. Teams across the globe have worked tirelessly to assemble the spacecraft which will receive a protective covering prior to departing for the Multi-Payload Processing Facility to begin ground processing by the Exploration Ground Systems and Jacobs teams. (Credits: NASA/Ben Smegelsky)

DENVER, March 1, 2021 (Lockheed Martin PR) — Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) and NEC Corporation (NEC; TSE: 6701) have signed a joint collaboration agreement to extend their partnership utilizing NEC’s System Invariant Analysis Technology (SIAT). The companies are also finalizing a licensing agreement with a multi-year option.

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L3Harris Awarded $137 Million Contract for Four Additional Payload Mission Data Units for GPS III Follow-on

MELBOURNE, Fla. — L3Harris Technologies (NYSE:LHX) has received contracts totaling $137 million for four navigation payload Mission Data Units (MDU) for future GPS III Follow-on (GPS IIIF) satellites.

Lockheed Martin, the prime contractor for GPS III/IIIF, selected L3Harris in 2018 to design and build the first two fully-digital MDUs, the heart of the satellite’s navigation payload. The MDU generates more powerful GPS signals and assures clock operations for GPS users.

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Raytheon to Challenge Lockheed Martin Acquisition of Aerojet Rocketdyne, Extended Regulatory Review Likely

Raytheon said it will challenge Lockheed Martin’s planned acquisition of Aerojet Rocketdyne on anti-trust grounds amid reports that federal regulators will extend their review of the deal. Bloomberg reports:

“They are a huge supplier to us, and if that merger actually happens, you don’t have an independent supplier on the solid-rocket-motor side. And also, I think it gives us pause as we think about the competitive landscape going forward,” Raytheon Chief Executive Officer Greg Hayes said Wednesday at the Barclays Industrial Select virtual conference.

The proposed $4.4 billion deal would have a top competitor absorb a key supplier of solid rocket motors used in Raytheon’s missile systems. Hayes said the company would relay its concerns about the deal to the U.S. antitrust authorities and the Defense Department.

Lockheed announced the acquisition in December in an effort to expand expand its foray into missile defense and futuristic space travel, targeting higher sales and cost savings as defense budgets tighten.

Reuters reports that the Federal Trade Commission is likely to extend its 60-day review of the planned acquisition, which was due to expire at midnight on Thursday.

The $4.4 billion dollar deal, announced late last year, has raised eyebrows because Lockheed would take over a company that produces 70% of the solid fuel rocket motors and other propulsion products used in everything from antiballistic missiles, to air-to-air missiles.

Lockheed’s CEO, Jim Taiclet, said the deal could put Lockheed into a strong position in the growing propulsion and hypersonic weapons market.

Still, Taiclet has said Lockheed would simultaneously remain a partner to Aerojet’s current customer base by “providing outstanding propulsion products for the entire industry.”

NASA’s First Mission to the Trojan Asteroids Installs its Final Scientific Instrument

Two engineers work on L’Ralph, the most complicated instrument that will fly on the Lucy mission to Jupiter’s Trojan asteroids. It is actually two instruments in one. The Multispectral Visible Imaging Camera (MVIC), will take visible light color images. The Linear Etalon Imaging Spectral Array (LEISA), will collect infrared spectra. (Credits: NASA/Goddard/Barbara Lambert/Desiree Stover)

LITTLETON, Colo. (NASA PR) — With less than a year to launch, NASA’s Lucy mission’s third and final scientific instrument has been integrated onto the spacecraft.

The spacecraft, which will be the first to explore the Trojan asteroids — a population of small bodies that share an orbit with Jupiter — is in the final stages of the assembly process. Just five months ago, at the beginning of the Assembly, Testing and Launch operations (ATLO) process, the components of the Lucy spacecraft were being built all over the country. Today, a nearly assembled spacecraft sits in the high bay in Lockheed Martin Space in Littleton, Colorado.

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NASA Advancing Global Navigation Satellite System Capabilities

Deployment of Bobcat-1 from the International Space Station. (Credit: Nanoracks)

by Danny Baird
​NASA’s Space Communications and Navigation program office

NASA is developing capabilities that will allow missions at high altitudes to take advantage of signals from Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) constellations — like GPS commonly used in the U.S. These signals — used on Earth for navigation and critical timing applications — could provide NASA’s Artemis missions to the Moon with reliable timing and navigation data. NASA’s Space Communications and Navigation (SCaN) program is developing the technologies that will support this goal.

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