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SSL to Equip JPL’s Europa Clipper Spacecraft

By | April 3, 2018

Rendition of NASA’s Europa Clipper mision. Photo: NASA.

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) has selected SSL to design and build critical equipment for a spacecraft that will explore Europa, one of Jupiter’s moons.

The Europa Clipper spacecraft, set to launch in the 2020s, will perform repeated investigative flybys of Europa, an icy moon of Jupiter, which strong evidence suggests has an ocean of liquid water beneath its crust, potentially harboring conditions suitable for life. SSL will provide the Remote Engineering Unit, an interface between the spacecraft’s various attitude control systems, thermal sensors and the flight computer. Due to the highly radiative environment the spacecraft will be subjected to, the SSL design for the interface will include new radiation-tolerant components expected to help power future exploration missions.

Other examples of SSL’s long-term collaboration with NASA on deep-space exploration include a NASA Discovery Program to explore the metal asteroid Psyche, for which NASA is leveraging the company’s expertise in solar electric propulsion and automation technologies. SSL is also collaborating on NASA’s Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway by creating a module to provide power and control for this human crew-tended spaceport in lunar orbit that would function as an access point to the Moon and deep space.