NASA has announced that its Lucy mission has passed a critical mission milestone bringing it closer to launch. The Systems Integration Review is complete and ensures that segments, components, and subsystems, along with scientific instrumentation, electrical and communication systems, and navigation systems are all on schedule to be integrated into the system.
This review also confirms that facilities, support personnel, plans, and procedures are also on schedule to support integration. The four-day Systems Integration Review took place from July 27-30. On July 31, the standing review board briefed the team on the results of the meeting. The meeting was conducted virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The pandemic has led to some delays in construction for instruments and components. The Lucy assembly, test, and launch operations team developed a new schedule that allows them to reorder the assembly and testing timeline to give components and subsystems the flexibility needed to get ready for a scheduled launch in October 2021.
The project is able to proceed with the Systems Integration Review complete, and behind it, assembly operations are underway. Lucy is on schedule to begin assembly, test, and launch operations next month at the Lockheed Martin Space Systems facility in Littleton.
Another upcoming milestone is the Key Decision Point-D that occurs after the project has completed a series of independent reviews covering technical health, schedule, and cost of the project. The review is set to happen in late August. The goal of the Lucy mission is to study Trojan asteroids, which is a population of small bodies orbiting the sun that lead and trail Jupiter. NASA says that Lucy will become the first space mission in history to explore so many different destinations in independent orbits around the sun.