Lockheed Martin Space Systems awarded one of three design contracts for NASA's Gamma-ray Large Area Space Telescope
SUNNYVALE, CA, 22-MAY-00 -- Lockheed Martin Space Systems has been awarded one of three design contracts by the Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) for NASA's Gamma-ray Large Area Space Telescope (GLAST). Planned for launch in 2005, GLAST will inaugurate a new epoch in space-based physics investigation. We're extremely proud as a company to have been selected to prepare designs for this very important mission, said Dr. Domenick Tenerelli, Space Systems program manager for GLAST. A mission that seeks to understand the most energetic events in the cosmos is particularly exciting. We're delighted to be able to work with NASA Goddard on this fundamental mission to better understand the structure and evolution of the universe.
The Lockheed Martin Space Systems design will incorporate the LM 900 bus, used on the IKONOS commercial remote sensing spacecraft built for Space Imaging EOSAT of Thornton, CO. The LM 900 is ideal for meeting the data, power distribution, and stability requirements for GLAST.
Additionally, Space Systems brings to the table a long commitment to space science. The company has provided spacecraft, as well as systems engineering, integration and test, for the Hubble Space Telescope, Lunar Prospector, Imager for Magnetopause to Aurora Global Exploration, Gravity Probe-B, the Space Infrared Telescope Facility, and the Space Interferometry Mission. Design concepts for NASA's Next Generation Space Telescope and the Terrestrial Planet Finder are also in progress at the Space Systems facility in Sunnyvale.
Using the most powerful particle accelerators in the universe as cosmic laboratories, GLAST will explore the extreme environments of supermassive black holes, neutron stars, and gamma-ray bursts. On cosmological scales, GLAST will explore the era of star formation in the universe, the physics of dark matter and the creation and evolution of galaxies.
GLAST is designed to operate in the energy range from 20 MeV to 300 GeV. It will provide a factor of better than 30 times the sensitivity of the Energetic Gamma Ray Experiment Telescope (EGRET) onboard the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory (CGRO).
GLAST will observe at least ten times as many active galactic nuclei and stellar-mass black holes as previously detected in the gamma-ray band. It will study pulsars and supernova remnants, gamma-ray bursts, the diffuse Galactic and extragalactic high-energy gamma-ray backgrounds, and solar flares. Since its source location accuracy will be more than an order of magnitude better than that of EGRET, it will be able to associate unidentified EGRET sources with known celestial objects. GLAST will also search for annihilation-line radiation from weakly interacting massive particles, known as WIMPs, which may account for the dark matter.
The mission's scientific objectives require a high-energy gamma-ray telescope with angular resolution sufficient to identify point sources with objects at other wavelengths, a wide field-of-view that will permit the study of sources that exhibit extreme intensity variations on timescales from seconds to months or longer, and a large effective area to detect a large sample of sources and determine their energy spectra. New detector technologies that offer significant improvements over existing hardware (a factor of between 10 and 100 improvement in source sensitivity, depending on energy) will allow these requirements to be met well within the cost constraints of an intermediate class astrophysics mission. Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, will manage the GLAST mission for NASA's Office of Space Science in Washington, DC.
Lockheed Martin Space Systems, in Sunnyvale, CA, is a leading supplier of satellites and space systems to military, civil government and commercial communications organizations around the world. These spacecraft and systems have enhanced military and commercial communications; provided new and timely remote-sensing information; and furnished new data for thousands of scientists studying our planet and the universe.