Jeffco plant to build Mars orbiter Denver Post

NASA has selected Lockheed Martin Astronautics to design and build the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter at its south Jefferson County facility. The highly complex orbiter, which will measure Martian landscape features as small as 8 to 12 inches across, is twice the mass and will return 12 times the amount of data as the Mars Global Surveyor, now in orbit. The Global Surveyor, which also was built by Lockheed, has returned more than 101,000 images in its four years of mapping the Martian surface in 1-meter detail. Lockheed’s $145 million contract for the 2005 orbiter will cover development through operations. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, is Lockheed’s partner in the mission.