Lockheed Martin taps Northrop Grumman fiber-optic IMU for satellite bus

WOODLAND HILLS, Calif., 26 Jan. 2016. Northrop Grumman Corp. (NYSE:NOC) won a contract from Lockheed Martin Corp. to supply its LN-200S fiber-optic inertial measurement unit (IMU) for the LM 300 satellite bus.

Lockheed Martin taps Northrop Grumman fiber-optic IMU for satellite bus
Lockheed Martin taps Northrop Grumman fiber-optic IMU for satellite bus

WOODLAND HILLS, Calif., 26 Jan. 2016. Northrop Grumman Corp. (NYSE:NOC) won a contract from Lockheed Martin Corp. to supply its LN-200S fiber-optic inertial measurement unit (IMU) for the LM 300 satellite bus.

The LN-200S small, lightweight, navigational element senses acceleration and angular motion, providing data outputs used by vehicle control systems for attitude control and guidance. The IMU is hermetically sealed and contains no moving parts, ensuring low noise, dependability, and an extended shelf life, officials say.

"The LN-200S is a low-cost, reliable IMU with significant space heritage. This IMU is especially ideal for the burgeoning small satellite market due to its affordability, small size, light weight and low power consumption," describes Bob Mehltretter, vice president, navigation and positioning systems business unit, Northrop Grumman Mission Systems.

Lockheed Martin taps Northrop Grumman fiber-optic IMU for satellite busLockheed Martin taps Northrop Grumman fiber-optic IMU for satellite bus

The LN-200S heritage can be traced back 20 years to its qualification for flight aboard the Clementine spacecraft. Since then, a wide range of space missions have depended on the IMU to provide reliable inertial data.

The LN-200S has performed on many spacecraft, including NASA's Curiosity, Spirit, and Opportunity Mars rovers, as well as satellites in geosynchronous and low Earth orbits. The Coriolis spacecraft, built by Orbital ATK and launched in January 2003 with two LN-200S IMUs, continues to perform its mission in low Earth orbit.

The primary IMU has exceeded its life expectancy and requirements by providing continuous data since launch — avoiding the need to utilize the backup LN-200S IMU on the spacecraft, officials say.

Northrop Grumman is a global security company providing systems, products, and solutions in unmanned systems, cyber, C4ISR, and logistics and modernization to government and commercial customers worldwide.

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