NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Product Development: Design, Analysis, Fabrication, and Assembly.
In collaboration with GSFC, Newton provided product development and engineering services to design the Submillimeter Solar Observation Lunar Volatiles Experiment’s (SSOLVE) mechanical, thermal, and control systems; and fabricate its heliostat assembly.
NASA GSFC requested specialized engineering services to design, develop, and fabricate the
mechanical, control, and thermal subsystems for SSOLVE’s high fidelity 6U CubeSat-sized prototype.
The Submillimeter Solar Observation Lunar Volatiles Experiment (SSOLVE) is a pathfinder for lunar
exploration. It is a small, high sensitivity precision instrument that will broaden our understanding of
lunar water and its abundance in the moon’s atmosphere and exosphere. It will help establish the
daily variations in lunar water vapor availability, and whether its sources are internal or external.
SSOLVE uses submillimeter spectrometers together with a heliostat and sunlight for its measurements.
It makes use of a two-axis rotating heliostat assembly to follow the sun for data collection as well as
to allow for regular calibration to account for potential water in the instrument. This assembly requires
extreme levels of accuracy, precision (0.03deg), and excellent repeatability (.014deg). SSOLVE is
designed to survive the harsh lunar environment and have full sky coverage even under a 15deg tilt.
Newton designed, analyzed, fabricated, and tested SSOLVE’s heliostat assembly and its subsystems:
controls, thermal systems, azimuth and elevation sub-assemblies. To accomplish this, Newton:
• Developed controls for the heliostat, azimuth, and elevation assemblies for precise and repeatable
movement: 0.03deg accuracy, and 0.014deg repeatability - even under tilt.
• Provided guidance on the design and selection of thermal systems. This included a first-order
review of thermal consideration, researching passive thermal regulation techniques for the moon,
and providing an estimated surface area needed to reject system heat.
• Created a lunar environment-ready enclosure to protect instrument electronic equipment, optical
components, and rotating electro-mechanical assemblies from the effects of lunar regolith and