Deep Space Projects
KinetX is the first and only private company to successfully navigate NASA missions to Mercury, Pluto, asteroids, and more:
KinetX provided navigation services for NASA’s MESSENGER mission to Mercury, the first spacecraft to orbit the planet. Launched on 3 August 2004, MESSENGER traversed the most complex interplanetary trajectory ever flown, arriving at Mercury after 6.6 years.
KinetX successfully navigated the spacecraft in orbit from 17 March 2011 through 30 April 2015, extending the science data collection duration by developing an innovative “solar sailing” technique using the spacecraft's solar arrays.
KinetX guided the first spacecraft to explore the Pluto system, New Horizons, on it’s 9.5 year journey to the outer reaches of our Solar System. Employing an innovative optical navigation technique, our engineers successfully navigated New Horizons, NASA’s first New Frontiers mission, as it flew past Pluto and its moons, capturing stunning images and data that are rewriting science textbooks.
Our SNAFD team is navigating the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft, NASA’s third New Frontiers mission, to a rendezvous with the near-Earth asteroid Bennu. Our engineers will then be tasked with carefully “flying in formation” with it for about a year to study the surface and shape of the carbonaceous asteroid. Then, KinetX engineers will carefully guide the spacecraft down towards the surface to capture a sample of material to be returned to Earth in 2023 for further study.
KinetX is part of the team on NASA’s Lucy mission destined to explore the Trojan asteroids locked in orbits near Jupiter. Lucy will be the first space mission to study the these primitive bodies, which will revolutionize our understanding of planetary origins and the formation of the Solar System. KinetX engineers will perform the complex navigation of the spacecraft from Earth to flybys of seven asteroids. No other space mission in history has been launched to as many different destinations in independent orbits around our Sun.
Our engineers have partnered with students and staff at Arizona State University as part of the LunaH-Map project, a 6U CubeSat which will search for hydrogen deposits at the Moon's south pole. KinetX identified a unique trajectory to put the spacecraft into lunar orbit, and is leading the mission design effort.