archive: SETI FW: Contractors Chosen for Space Interferometry Mission

SETI FW: Contractors Chosen for Space Interferometry Mission

Larry Klaes ( )
Thu, 10 Sep 1998 16:33:21 -0400

Sent: Thursday, September 10, 1998 4:26 PM
To: undisclosed-recipients:;
Subject: Contractors Chosen for Space Interferometry Mission

Douglas Isbell
Headquarters, Washington, DC September 10, 1998
(Phone: 202/358-1753)

Jane Platt
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA
(Phone: 818/354-5011)

RELEASE: 98-162


NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Pasadena, CA, has
selected Lockheed Martin Missiles and Space, Sunnyvale, CA, and
TRW Inc., Space and Electronics Group, Redondo Beach, CA, for
negotiations as industry team members for the Space Interferometry
Mission (SIM).

SIM is an innovative space system that will be launched in
2005 to measure precisely the location of stars and to search for
planets orbiting nearby stars. SIM is part of the Origins Program
in NASA's Space Science enterprise, a long-term program to enhance
our understanding of the Universe and search for life beyond Earth.

The total value of these two contracts, including the mission
formulation and implementation phases, is estimated to be in
excess of $200 million. The initial contracts will cover the
mission's formulation phase, with an option for the implementation
phase. During the formulation phase, initial mission design and
planning for full-scale implementation will be completed.

"This marks the start of what we envision as an exciting and
productive relationship with our industry team members," said
Chris Jones, SIM project manager at JPL.

SIM will be placed into an Earth-trailing orbit around the
Sun. Its multiple telescopes will be used in pairs; the light
they gather will be collected and processed to pinpoint the
position of stars. The system will synthesize images that could
normally only be obtained with a much larger telescope. It also
will demonstrate the ability to "null" or cancel out the light
from a star, which will help enable future missions to obtain a
direct view of planets around other stars. Interferometry will
play a key role in several missions of the Origins program.

SIM will search for planets beyond our Solar System by
watching for the telltale wobble motion of a star, which indicates
the gravitational tug of an orbiting planet or planets. SIM also
will image the regions immediately surrounding massive black hole
candidates in the nearest galaxies, measure the distances to half
a dozen nearby galaxies, and study other celestial objects.

JPL manages SIM for NASA's Office of Space Science,
Washington, DC. JPL is a division of Caltech, Pasadena, CA.

Additional information on the Space Interferometry Mission is
available on the Internet:

Information on the Origins program is available at:


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