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Lockheed Martin And NASA De-Orbit Twin GRAIL Spacecraft Into The Moon

    Lockheed Martin And NASA De-Orbit Twin GRAIL Spacecraft Into The Moon

PR Newswire

DENVER, Dec. 17, 2012

DENVER, Dec. 17, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --NASA's Gravity Recovery And Interior
Laboratory (GRAIL) mission came to an end today as planned when the Lockheed
Martin (NYSE: LMT) and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) flight operations
team commanded the two spacecraft to de-orbit and impact the surface of the
moon. Lockheed Martin built the twin robotic spacecraft and conducted flight
operations for NASA's JPL since their launch on Sept. 10, 2011.

The first of the orbiters, Ebb, impacted a predetermined mountain near the
lunar north pole at 3:28 p.m. MT, with its twin, Flow, hitting nearby 30
seconds later. Both were traveling at 3,760 mph (1.7 kilometers per second).

Following a successful primary and secondary science mission of mapping the
gravity of the moon, the washing machine-sized spacecraft were nearly out of
fuel. JPL and Lockheed Martin worked together to send both spacecraft to the
surface in a controlled manner at a known location.

"During this extended science campaign, the orbits were reduced to astonishing
low altitudes. In some instances, the spacecraft flew less than 1.25 miles (2
kilometers) above the lunar topography," said Stu Spath, GRAIL program manager
at Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company. "These low trajectories have
provided increased science visibility into the moon's impact craters and other
crustal features. Today marks a bittersweet end to a great mission."

The GRAIL primary mission yielded the highest-resolution gravity field map of
any celestial body. Future gravity field models developed from data collected
during the extended mission will be of even higher resolution. The map will
provide a better understanding of how the moon, Earth and other terrestrial
planets in the solar system formed and evolved.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., manages the GRAIL mission.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, is home to the mission's
principal investigator, Dr. Maria Zuber. The GRAIL mission is part of the
Discovery Program managed at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in
Huntsville, Ala.

Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security and
aerospace company that employs about 120,000 people worldwide and is
principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture,
integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and
services. The corporation's net sales for 2011 were $46.5 billion.

More information on the GRAIL mission can be found at:

  oNASA GRAIL site: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/grail/main/index.html
  oLockheed Martin GRAIL site: http://www.lockheedmartin.com/grail



MEDIA CONTACT:
Gary Napier, Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company
(303) 971-4012; gary.p.napier@lmco.com

SOURCE Lockheed Martin

Website: http://www.lockheedmartin.com
 
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