NASA’s Lucy mission, which is set to be the first space mission to study the Trojan asteroids, completed its critical design review.
Based on the space agency, Lucy’s team members introduced the finished mission design, showing that they’ve met all the technical challenges of the mission and have been prepared to begin building the actual hardware.
At Lockheed Martin in Colorado over four days, an independent review board, comprised of reviewers from NASA and several external organizations, heard all concerning the mission design.
“This can be a fascinating time for us as a result of we are moving beyond the design phase and a beginning to construct the spacecraft,” Hal Levison, the mission’s principal investigator from Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colo., stated in a statement. “It’s finally becoming real!”
The subjects touched upon through the design review included the Lucy spacecraft and its instrument payload, system-level test plans for flight hardware and software, systems engineering, mission assurance, the ground system, and science.
The Trojan asteroids orbit the Sun at a distance of Jupiter. The mission is ready to launch in October 2021; with boosts from Earth’s gravity, the spacecraft is anticipated to finish a 12-year journey to seven different asteroids.
“I’m continuously amazed at the dedication and diversity of skills that our team brings to this project,” stated Keith Noll, a Lucy project scientist from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “Day by day, the mission comes into clearer focus, and the mission-critical design review is the latest milestone in our journey to launch just two years from now.”