October 27, 2017 – Vice President Mike Pence and Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA’s associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate, visited a clean room facility in Littleton, Colorado, where Lockheed Martin Space Systems is assembling and testing InSight, NASA’s next spacecraft to Mars.
InSight, for Interior Exploration Using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport, is on course for launch next May from Vandenberg Air Force Base in central California — the first interplanetary launch in history from America’s West Coast. InSight will land on Mars in November of 2018, where it will be the first mission to explore Mars’ deep interior. InSight investigations will improve our understanding about the formation and evolution of all rocky planets, including Earth.
After the visit, Marillyn Hewson, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Lockheed Martin issued the following statement: “It was an honor to host Vice President Pence, Secretary Wilson and Associate Administrator Zurbuchen at our world-class space technology center in Colorado. We were proud to highlight the exceptional work of our 18,000 Lockheed Martin Space employees, as we seek to advance the mission of the National Space Council and ensure U.S. leadership in every aspect of space. During the visit, we showcased several cutting-edge technologies – including our next-generation GPS III satellite, which was recently accepted by the U.S. Air Force and is ready for launch in 2018, and the Lockheed Martin-built InSight Mars lander, which will support NASA’s next mission to Mars.”
JPL, a division of Caltech in Pasadena, California, manages the InSight Project for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington. Lockheed Martin Space Systems built the spacecraft. InSight is part of NASA’s Discovery Program, which is managed by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.