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Living in Europa

Integrated Mission Systems
Jan 28, 2022 | 2 MINUTE Read

Is the environment of Jupiter’s moon Europa suitable for life? NASA hopes to be able to tell us - and L3Harris has a role in the mission.

The Europa Clipper spacecraft is being developed for a mission to explore the icy environment of Europa, with the primary science goal of determining suitability for the existence of life.  The mission is scheduled to launch in 2024.

L3Harris is providing NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory with circuit boards to be integrated into the radar instrument, Radar for Europa Assessment and Sounding: Ocean to Near-surface, or REASON. REASON will use radar to measure the thickness of Europa’s ice shell.

REASON will use L3Harris’ four circuit boards in the exploration of Europa. Using a culmination of design and lessons learned from engineered units delivered in 2019, the units are currently being tested and refined for the mission.

The ceramic column grid array on the digital radar board is not only temperature sensitive, but also costly and difficult to place on the circuit card. L3Harris and JPL experts have tailored the electromagnetic sensitivity of the REASON instrument to accommodate the expected harsh environment.  

Numerous NASA programs have relied on L3Harris’ highly reliable designs, manufacturing expertise and technology – from early spacecraft through the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, Space Shuttle, International Space Station and previous Mars missions. L3Harris has supported deep space exploration with work on the Hubble Space Telescope and now the James Webb and Nancy Grace Roman space telescopes. With six decades of experience supporting space exploration missions, such as Europa Clipper, L3Harris continues to provide discriminating technology that helps our customers perform challenging missions safely and dependably.

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