Neptec Design Group announced that it has signed a contract with Astrium UK Limited for the design and build of navigation cameras for the ExoMars Rover.
The ExoMars Programme has the goals of understanding the Martian environments and establishing whether life had or could now exist on Mars. The Programme comprises two Missions: an Orbiter in 2016; and a Rover Mission in 2018.
Contracts with European organizations represent an increasing portion of Neptec’s Space Exploration business as the company expands beyond its core business with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA).
“We are thrilled to be a part of this exciting journey in exploring the planet Mars,” said Mike Kearns, Neptec President of Space Exploration. “The vision cameras that we are developing will be the eyes of the rover as it explores the surface of Mars.”
The main challenge in the development of these cameras will be to design them to withstand the extreme environmental conditions that will be experienced on the surface of Mars.
“This ExoMars programme is an example of what can be accomplished when governments and industry work together in the space sector,” said Neptec’s CEO Iain Christie. “The contract for these navigation cameras has involved the co-operation of the Canadian Space Agency, and the European Space Agency.”
The ExoMars Programme is a European Space Agency Robotic Exploration Mission under the prime contractorship of Thales Alenia Space Italia, with Astrium UK Limited leading the Rover Vehicle developments.
Specializing in advanced space systems, Neptec maintains a reputation of quality and reliability in the design, manufacturing, installation and support of its sensor systems, cameras and rovers in major international space programs.
Neptec is currently preparing for the following space exploration missions:
Exploring the origins of the universe on the Japanese Astro H satellite in 2014
Guiding the Orbital Cygnus vehicle to the ISS in 2013
Providing the vision system for the Exomars Rover on Mars in 2018
Designing rovers for a mission to the moon that is tentatively planned for 2018
Neptec supplied NASA a laser vision system which was used to examine the thermal protection system on all space Shuttle during flight since the return to flight after the Columbia accident.
It has also been involved with the CSA and NASA in developing and testing rover technology which could some day be used on the Moon or Mars.