MDA Ltd. (TSX:MDA) has been awarded the full contract from MELCO (Mitsubishi Electric Corporation) in Japan to provide a Laser Rangefinder (LRF) altimeter for the JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) MMX (Martian Moons eXploration) mission.
MDA will be providing two redundant flight units (laser range finder – LRF) altimeters and one engineering development unit (EDU) LRF altimeter.
Scheduled to launch in Japanese Fiscal Year 2024, MMX is a mission to travel to Mars and explore the red planet’s two moons: Phobos and Deimos. Approximately one year after leaving Earth, the spacecraft will arrive in Martian space and enter into orbit around Mars and then Phobos.
MDA’s LRF will be used as an altimeter and provide range measurements to the planetary probe for its safe approach and landing on Phobos. After observation and sample collection, the spacecraft will return to Earth carrying the samples.
As a result of this mission JAXA hopes to clarify the origin of the Martian moons and the process of planet formation in the Solar System; clarify the evolution process of the Martian-sphere (Mars, Phobos, Deimos); establish the technology required for the return trip between the Earth and Mars; establish advanced sampling techniques on celestial bodies; and establish optimal communication technologies using a newly developed ground station