NASA's MAVEN Mission Completes Assembly, Begins Environmental Testing

    NASA's MAVEN Mission Completes Assembly, Begins Environmental Testing

PR Newswire

GREENBELT, Md., Feb. 8, 2013

GREENBELT, Md., Feb. 8, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- NASA's Mars Atmosphere
and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) spacecraft is assembled and is undergoing
environmental testing at Lockheed Martin Space Systems facilities, near
Denver, Colo. MAVEN is the next mission to Mars and will be the first mission
devoted to understanding the Martian upper atmosphere.

(Logo:http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20081007/38461LOGO)

During the environmental testing phase, the orbiter will undergo a variety of
rigorous tests that simulate the extreme temperatures, vacuum and vibration
the spacecraft will experience during the course of its mission. Currently,
the spacecraft is in the company's Reverberant Acoustic Laboratory being
prepared to undergo acoustics testing that simulates the maximum sound and
vibration levels the spacecraft will experience during launch.

Following the acoustics test, MAVEN will be subjected to barrage of additional
tests, including: separation/deployment shock, vibration, electromagnetic
interference/electromagnetic compatibility and magnetics testing. The phase
concludes with a thermal vacuum test where the spacecraft and its instruments
are exposed to the vacuum and extreme hot and cold temperatures it will face
of space.

"The assembly and integration of MAVEN has gone very smoothly and we're
excited to test our work over the next six months," said Guy Beutelschies,
MAVEN program manager at Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company. "Environmental
testing is a crucial set of activities designed to ensure the spacecraft can
operate in the extreme conditions of space."

"I'm very pleased with how our team has designed and built the spacecraft and
science instruments that will make our measurements," said Bruce Jakosky,
MAVEN principal investigator from the University of Colorado at Boulder's
Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics. "We've got an exciting science
mission planned, and the environmental testing now is what will ensure that we
are ready for launch and for the mission."

MAVEN is scheduled to ship from Lockheed Martin's facility to NASA's Kennedy
Space Center in early August where it will undergo final preparations for
launch.

MAVEN, scheduled to launch in November 2013, is a robotic exploration mission
to understand the role that loss of atmospheric gas to space played in
changing the Martian climate through time. It will investigate how much of the
Martian atmosphere has been lost over time by measuring the current rate of
escape to space and gathering enough information about the relevant processes
to extrapolate backward in time.

"This phase of the program is particularly important in that it will provide
us with a good assessment of the MAVEN system's capabilities under the
simulated extremes of the space environment," said David Mitchell, MAVEN
project manager at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. "Of
significance, the spacecraft is entering system level test right on schedule,
while maintaining robust cost and schedule reserves to deal with the technical
or programmatic surprises that could occur during test or in the run to
launch. Tracking on plan is critically important to being ready for launch
later this year and the science that MAVEN will deliver one year later."

MAVEN's principal investigator is based at the University of Colorado at
Boulder's Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics. The university will
provide science operations, science instruments and lead Education/Public
Outreach. NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center manages the project and provides
two of the science instruments for the mission. Lockheed Martin of Littleton,
Colo., built the spacecraft and is responsible for mission operations. The
University of California at Berkeley Space Sciences Laboratory provides
science instruments for the mission. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory,
Pasadena, Calif., provides navigation support, the Deep Space Network and the
Electra telecommunications relay hardware and operations.

For more information on MAVEN, visit:

www.nasa.gov/maven

and

http://lasp.colorado.edu/home/maven/

SOURCE NASA

Website: http://www.nasa.gov
Contact: Nancy Neal Jones, Goddard Space Flight Center, Md., +1-301-286-0039,
Nancy.N.Jones@nasa.gov