Northrop Grumman has been selected by NASA to co-design the Jupiter Icy Moons Orbiter (JIMO), the first mission proposed under the Prometheus programme to develop nuclear electric power and propulsion systems for space exploration. Planned for launch in 2012 or later, JIMO will explore three moons of Jupiter - Callisto, Europa and Ganymede - to search for subsurface oceans.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory has awarded Northrop Grumman a $400 million contact to complete preliminary design of JIMO by mid-2008. Boeing and Lockheed Martin will co-design the non-nuclear portion of JIMO, Northrop Grumman will assemble the spacecraft, the US Department of Energy will supply the space reactor and NASA will provide the launch vehicle. Mission instruments will be procured competitively.

Belgium's Verhaert is to build a second Proba technology satellite under a €13.8 million ($16.9 million) European Space Agency contract. Proba 2 is planned for launch by the end of 2006 into a 600km (370 miles) orbit to observe the Sun and improve prediction of solar eruptions.


Source: Flight International