Aerospace company Lockheed Martin has announced that it has completed the assembly of NASA’s MAVEN spacecraft. MAVEN stands for Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN spacecraft. Lockheed Martin reports that the orbiter is now undergoing environmental testing near Denver, Colorado in its Space Systems facilities.
During the environmental testing phase, Lockheed Martin will put the orbiter under a variety of rigorous tests designed to simulate extreme temperatures, vacuum, and vibration that MAVEN will be subjected to during its mission. Lockheed says that the spacecraft is currently in its Reverberant Acoustic Laboratory preparing to undergo acoustic testing designed to simulate the maximum sound and vibration levels the spacecraft will experience during launch.
After the acoustic testing is completed the spacecraft will be put through another battery of tests to simulate separation/deployment shock, sine vibration, electromagnetic interference, and magnetics testing. The testing phase will end with a thermal vacuum test that subjects the spacecraft and instruments to vacuum with extreme hot and extreme cold temperatures to simulate the space environment.
Lockheed Martin still plans to ship MAVEN to the NASA Kennedy Space Center in early August. Once the spacecraft is received by NASA it will begin final preparations for launch. The MAVEN spacecraft is currently scheduled for launch in November of 2013 on a mission to help determine how much atmosphere Mars has lost over time.
[via Lockheed Martin]