General Dynamics Selected By NASA To Build The Spacecraft For The Landsat Data Continuity Mission

Under the terms of the US$ 116 million delivery order, General Dynamics will be responsible for the design and fabrication of the LDCM spacecraft bus, integration of the government furnished instruments, satellite-level testing, on-orbit satellite check-out and continuing on-orbit engineering support. General Dynamics will also provide a spacecraft/observatory simulator.

Landsat will obtain data and imagery for use in agriculture, education, business, science and government. The LDCM observatory will include evolutionary advances in technology and performance, providing 60 percent more Earth coverage data per day than the current Landsat observatory.

“General Dynamics is committed to supporting NASA, and understands the importance of the Landsat mission,” said David Shingledecker, vice president and general manager of integrated space systems for General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems. “We look forward to working closely with the Goddard Space Flight Center for the continued success of the Landsat mission.”

General Dynamics will provide a simple, robust and reliable Landsat spacecraft that allows for rapid integration and testing. The company will use mature, qualified, flight-proven components to reduce development time, shorten integration time and improve performance.

General Dynamics will build the LDCM spacecraft in its state-of-the-art satellite manufacturing facility in Gilbert, Arizona. The company has previously built 11 satellites, including NASA’s Swift and RHESSI, all of which have successfully performed on-orbit. Another spacecraft, NASA’s Gamma-ray Large Area Space Telescope (GLAST), is now undergoing final preparations at Kennedy Space Center for launch.

For more than 30 years, NASA’s Landsat observatories have collected data of the Earth’s continental surfaces to support global-change research and applications. The collection includes the longest continuous recordings of the Earth’s surface as seen from space. The Landsat Data Continuity Mission is the future of Landsat satellites.

NASA’s Goddard Center in Greenbelt, Md., manages the acquisition of the LDCM in partnership with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). NASA will turn over management of the LDCM satellite to USGS after launch and on-orbit checkout.

General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems, a business unit of General Dynamics, designs, develops, manufactures, integrates, operates and maintains mission systems for defence, space, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, homeland security and homeland defence customers. Headquartered in Fairfax, Va., the company specialises in ground systems; imagery processing; mission payloads; space vehicles; maritime subsurface, surface and airborne mission systems; and tasking, collection, processing, exploitation and dissemination programs for national intelligence.

General Dynamics, headquartered in Falls Church, Virginia, employs approximately 83,500 people world-wide and reported 2007 revenues of US$ 27.2 billion. The company is a market leader in business aviation; land and expeditionary combat systems, armaments and munitions; shipbuilding and marine systems; and information systems and technologies.

(source April 22: General Dynamics)

Author: EARSC

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