Design Engineering

MDA awarded contract for JAXA’s Martian Moons mission

By DE staff   

General Aerospace

Canadian aerospace company to provide advanced LIDAR range finder for Japanese space agency’s MMX mission.

Currently scheduled to launch in the mid-2020s, JAXA’s MMX mission will collect surface material from Mar’s moon, Phobos, and return it to the Earth.
(Photo credit: Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency)

Macdonald Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. (MDA) announced that it has been awarded the full contract from MELCO (Mitsubishi Electric Corporation) in Japan to provide a Laser Rangefinder (LRF) altimeter for the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s (JAXA) Martian Moons eXploration (MMX) mission.

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.

As part of the contract, MDA will be providing two redundant flight units (laser range finder – LRF) altimeters and one engineering development unit (EDU) LRF altimeter. The company’s LRF will be used as an altimeter and provide range measurements to the planetary probe for its safe approach and landing on Phobos.

“MDA is a global leader in laser range finder and light detection and ranging (LiDAR) and we are very proud to be providing our advanced sensor technology to the MELCO team for JAXA’s Martian Moons Exploration Mission,” MDA CEO, Mike Greenley. “The Phobos landing will be a first for humankind, and the opportunity for MDA to be part of the milestone is an honour and reflection of the dedication and skill of our team.”


With this mission JAXA looks to investigate the origin of the Martian moons and the evolution process of the Martian-sphere (Mars, Phobos, Deimos), among other mission objectives.


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