Lunar Trailblazer Spacecraft Nears Completion
NASA's Lunar Trailblazer sits in a clean room at Lockheed Martin Space in Littleton, Colorado, shortly after being integrated with its second and final science instrument in June 2023. Called the Lunar Thermal Mapper (LTM), the instrument is visible as a black rectangular box in the upper right of the spacecraft's body. Green tape on the spacecraft will be removed before launch.
Built by the University of Oxford in England and contributed by the UK Space Agency, LTM joins the High-resolution Volatiles and Minerals Moon Mapper (HVM³) that was integrated with the spacecraft late last year. Together, the instruments will enable scientists to determine the abundance, location, and form of the Moon's water.
Planned to launch in early 2024, Lunar Trailblazer was selected under NASA's Small Innovative Missions for Planetary Exploration (SIMPLEx) program in 2019. The mission is managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, and its science investigation is led by Caltech in Pasadena, California. A division of Caltech, JPL built the HVM³ instrument. In addition, it provides system engineering, mission assurance, and navigation. Lockheed Martin Space provides the spacecraft and integrates the flight system, under contract with Caltech.
SIMPLEx mission investigations are managed by the Planetary Missions Program Office at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, as part of the Discovery Program at NASA Headquarters in Washington. The program conducts space science investigations in the Planetary Science Division of NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington.
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