Aerospace & Defense

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Emerging Capabilities

Human Exploration Missions

For more than 50 years, Lockheed Martin heritage companies have led the way in the design and production of spacecraft that have helped scientists understand our planet from a new perspective.  When we look to the skies, the Lockheed Martin legacy of space exploration via spacecraft, observatories, scientific instruments and payloads has enabled thousands of scientists and researchers to explore and broaden our understanding of the universe. 

NASA and industry partners such as Lockheed Martin are combining talents to launch a bold new era of space exploration. With Orion, NASA will launch America’s next generation of spacecraft to carry humans beyond low Earth orbit and out into the cosmos. With incremental missions at Lagrangian Points  and asteroids, Lockheed Martin has charted a series of increasingly challenging human exploration missions on the path to Mars.  

Called Stepping Stones, these missions map out an affordable and incremental approach to deep space exploration that will ensure U.S. leadership in human space flight. Along the way, these missions will spawn new scientific breakthroughs and new technologies that will benefit the people of Earth and inspire our  next generation of leaders and discoverers.

At Lockheed Martin, we’re committed to space exploration and everything it stands for…every step of the way.

L2- Farside Mission
Exploring the Moon’s Farside is an early goal of the Stepping Stones sequence of missions, which use the Orion spacecraft to explore incrementally more distant destinations beyond Low Earth Orbit, beginning with the Moon, then asteroids, and culminating in a trip to the moons of Mars. The second Lagrange Point (L2) is a location where the combined gravity of the Earth and Moon allows a spacecraft to be synchronized with the Moon in its orbit around the Earth, so the spacecraft is relatively stationary over the Farside of the Moon. Learn more

Accessible Asteroids
In the last decade, astronomers searching for hazardous asteroids that might impact Earth have discovered a few dozen small asteroids with orbits that make them easier to visit than any previously known asteroid – possibly even easier than the Moon. Sending astronauts to explore these asteroids and return samples to Earth would advance key scientific, planetary defense, and exploration goals. We would learn about the structure and composition of asteroids which may threaten Earth in the future. We would learn how to operate in deep space for months at a time – a necessary first step towards missions to Mars. For these reasons, exploring the asteroids is one of NASA’s next major goals. Learn more

Preparing for Mars
The objective of the Stepping Stones series of missions is to affordably and incrementally build towards America’s goal of sending humans to explore Mars with our international partners, accomplishing important science objectives along the way. The penultimate step is the Red Rocks mission to send astronauts to investigate Deimos, the outermost of Mar’s two small moons. They will also explore the surface of Mars remotely by guiding robots in real time to gather prime samples of Martian rocks and atmosphere for return to Earth, using skills developed during earlier missions over the farside of Earth’s Moon.