Lockheed Martin Missiles and Space Advanced Technology Centre (ATC) has been awarded a $37 million NASA contract.

It will provide the optical scientific instrument for NASA's $162 million Full-sky Astrometric Mapping Explorer (FAME), to be launched in 2004.

The instrument will determine, with unprecedented accuracy, the positions, distances and proper motions of 40 million stars within 6,500 light years of the sun.

The telescope, which includes a high-resolution, 24-charged coupled device (CCD) focal plane and a thermally-stable optical bench, will be able to determine a star's position to 1/350 of a CCD pixel.

ATC is part of a team headed by the Naval Research Laboratory that submitted a proposal to build and fly the FAME mission.

Source: Flight International