Lockheed Delivers New Mars Spacecraft to NASA

Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT  ) is ready to go to Mars... almost.

On Monday, Lockheed announced that it has delivered the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) spacecraft to NASA's Kennedy Space Center for pre-launch testing. MAVEN will be "the first [space mission] dedicated to surveying the upper atmosphere of Mars in an effort to understand the role that the loss of atmospheric gas to space played in changing the Martian climate," according to Lockheed.

NASA's MAVEN Spacecraft. Source: Lockheed Martin.

The company won the $485 million contract to build MAVEN back in 2008. In 2010, NASA awarded a $187 million to Lockheed Martin and its partner Boeing (NYSE: BA  ) , doing business as the United Launch Alliance joint venture, to launch MAVEN on its way to Mars.

The 1,784-pound MAVEN is scheduled to launch in November. Between now and then, the orbiter will undergo three-and-a-half months of pre-launch testing.


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