Manned interplanetary spacecraft
Deep space travel
Orion is NASA’s first interplanetary spacecraft designed to carry astronauts beyond low-Earth orbit on long-duration, deep space missions and eventually to Mars. Orion’s Exploration Flight Test (EFT-1), an unmanned test launch, successfully took place December 2014. Orion’s first manned mission is scheduled for 2017.
What we’re doing
Camera, antenna and nav tech provider
We were selected by prime contractor Lockheed Martin to provide Orion’s flight test cameras, phased array antennas, docking cameras, Visual Navigation Sensor (VNS) and star trackers. When rendezvous and docking operations are needed for later missions, the VNS, docking cameras and star trackers will be included.
The first avionics hardware completed for the EFT-1, Ball’s three flight test cameras are based on the design of the docking camera that flew aboard the STS-134 Sensor Test for Orion Relative Navigation Risk Mitigation (STORRM) mission in 2011.
We’ll deliver 11 phased array antennas (eight for flight) for Orion. Some of the most sophisticated subassemblies we’ve ever produced, each phased array antenna contains over 5,000 individual parts encased in a briefcase-sized housing.
The Orion phased array antenna design leverages dozens of our phased array designs delivered for space, airborne, ground and marine applications. The Orion antennas are the primary means of voice, data and video communications for the astronaut crews who will pilot the nation’s next generation spacecraft beyond low-Earth orbit on long-duration, deep-space missions.