NASA has selected Lockheed Martin Commercial Launch Services Inc. to develop the launch vehicle for the Mars Science Lab mission.
Lockheed Martin is to deliver an Atlas V rocket that will carry a large rover to the red planet during the fall of 2009. The six-wheeled rover will explore Mars for two years, examining sites to identify where the building blocks for life may exist.
The total MSL launch service price is $194.7 million, which includes NASA launch services and mission integration requirements.
Principal work for the Atlas V Centaur propellant tank will be performed at Lockheed Martin's San Diego facility, while the primary work location for the Atlas V booster propellant tank's production will be conducted at Lockheed's facility in Waterton, Colo.
The Mars Science Laboratory will be launched from Complex 41 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., a division of the California Institute of Technology, will be responsible for spacecraft design and integration; integration of science instruments; spacecraft system testing; launch operations support and support of mission operations.
Copyright 2006 by United Press International
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