Sensing technology developed by Raytheon Company (NYSE:RTN) will help to determine whether the polar regions of the moon contain ice.
The Forerunner miniaturized-radio frequency system was delivered by Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory to the Indian Space Research Organization in March 2008, integrated onto the nation's Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft, and launched into orbit Oct. 22 from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota, India.
Under contract to the U.S. Navy, Raytheon provided the antenna, transmitter, analog receiver and software for the Forerunner mini-RF system. The company also supplied system engineering and integration and test support.
Raytheon provided similar modules and support under the same contract for NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter program. The LRO spacecraft is currently undergoing environmental testing and is scheduled for launch in March 2009.
Raytheon's work on the Forerunner program takes advantage of the company's experience in support of the Department of Defense's operationally responsive space initiative, which calls for smaller, less expensive satellites that can provide scientific or tactical information on an as-needed basis. Because of its low development cost and miniaturization, the mini-RF technology provides a wealth of sensing capabilities in a relatively inexpensive and easily adapted platform.
"The responsive space concept holds great promise for many kinds of future missions, and Raytheon is proud to extend its leading role in that future with the mini-RF payloads," said Brian Arnold, vice president for Space Systems. "We're excited to be applying the lessons from our experience in operationally responsive space to these important lunar exploration projects."
Raytheon Company, with 2007 sales of $21.3 billion, is a technology leader specializing in defense, homeland security and other government markets throughout the world. With a history of innovation spanning 86 years, Raytheon provides state-of-the-art electronics, mission systems integration and other capabilities in the areas of sensing; effects; and command, control, communications and intelligence systems, as well as a broad range of mission support services. With headquarters in Waltham, Mass., Raytheon employs 72,000 people worldwide.