In March 2015, Lockheed Martin formally announced its entry for NASA’s commercial cargo
program. The Space Systems International division of Lockheed Martin introduced a system comprised of a reusable tug (denoted Jupiter), its robotic arm, and a configurable cargo module (called Exoliner) which will be used in tandem to carry supplies to the International Space Station.
The separable system will allow the Exoliner cargo module to diversify its operations while deployed, for example, releasing small satellites or remote sensing expeditions. The Jupiter can operate for extended periods in orbit, as the tug can be refueled while on mission. Lockheed Martin began its foray into spacecraft development in 2000 and has flown 8 successful interplanetary missions since then. The Exoliner/Jupiter system was developed by Lockheed Martin in collaboration with Thales Alenia Space, which provides the 14 x 14 feet cargo module design based on its own Automated Transfer Vehicle (used by the European Space Agency). Additionally, the Jupiter’s robotic arm, used to detach and re-attach cargo modules
, is being built by MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates (MDA) Corporation, a global communications and information company based in Canada.
he Jupiter is based on a Fifth Generation Deep Space platform, informed by Lockheed’s previous spacecraft – the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) orbiter and the Origins-Spectral Interpretation-Resource Identification-Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-Rex). The Exoliner can carry up to 1,500 kilograms in its unpressurized cargo hold, as well as 5,000 kg in its pressurized hold. Lockheed Martin envisions the Jupiter/Exoliner system to function as follows: The system would be launched from a United Launch Alliance Atlas V – a launch vehicle with a 100% success rate since its inception. While Jupiter loiters, the Exoliner refills the ISS. A new supply vehicle can be launched independently and deliver cargo to ISS. The Jupiter grabs the expended Exoliner cargo module and attaches it to an Atlas V Centaur which is then burned up in the atmosphere.
In addition to International Space System cargo missions, Lockheed Martin anticipates that the system can have beyond-Earth orbit applications. Namely, the system could be used as a habitat and logistic module for long-term cislunar deep space operations when deployed with an Orion spacecraft. The Commercial Resupply Services 2 contract’s winners will be decided in June of 2015. Via our proprietary website ASAP NSN Parts, ASAP Semiconductor is a leading supplier of Lockheed Martin products. Prospective customers can browse our inclusive inventory of hard-to-find obsolete and current Lockheed Martin parts at www.asap-nsnparts.us.
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