NASA's Lucy mission, which will be the first space mission to study Trojan asteroids, has successfully completed its critical design review.
According to the Space Agency, Lucy's team members presented the completed mission design, showing that they had met all the technical challenges of the mission and were ready to begin building up-to-date hardware.
At Lockheed Martin in Colorado, for four days, an independent review board consisting of NASA reviewers and several outside organizations heard all about the mission's design.
"This is a very exciting time for us because we are going out of the design phase and really starting to build the spacecraft," Hal Levison, Principal Investigator at Lucy's Southwestern Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado, said: " it finally becomes real! "
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Topics covered during the design review included Lucy's spacecraft and its payload, system-level testing plans software, systems engineering, mission assurance, ground system and science.
Trojan asteroids orbit the Sun at a distance from Jupiter. The mission will start in October 2021; with gravity boosting, the spacecraft will complete a 12-year journey to seven different asteroids.
"I'm constantly amazed at the dedication and diversity of skills our team brings to this project," says Keith Nol, a Lucy project scientist at NASA's Greenfield Space Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. "The day-to-day mission becomes a clearer focus, and a review of mission critical design is the latest moment in our journey, which should only begin two years later."