Lockheed Martin Selected as New Flight System Partner for Lunar Trailblazer

18 August 2020

In July 2020, Lockheed Martin Space was selected as the new partner for Lunar Trailblazer’s flight system. The Denver-based organization will design and build the spacecraft, integrate the instruments, and work with rideshare services to ready Lunar Trailblazer as a secondary payload for launch. The switch was made after the original spacecraft partner ran into design and cost challenges.

“We’re excited to partner with Lockheed for Lunar Trailblazer, leveraging Lockheed’s growing small satellite business as well as their decades of experience in enabling planetary exploration”, said Lunar Trailblazer’s Principal Investigator, Bethany Ehlmann.

The new version of the Lunar Trailblazer spacecraft will use chemical propulsion to get to the Moon, shaving months off the journey relative to the previous electric propulsion implementation. The spacecraft will weigh approximately 200 kg and fit comfortably in the ESPA Grande standard small satellite volume allocation.

The next big milestone for the team is the September Flight System Review, the last of 5 “table top”, project-convened reviews, en route to Lunar Trailblazer’s preliminary design review in mid-October.

By Jasper Miura
Jasper Miura is a Research Technician Associate and Lunar Trailblazer Science Manager at Caltech.