L3Harris Technologies says it will provide the Mission Astronaut Communication System for NASA’s Artemis II mission, America’s first crewed flight to the Moon in more than 50 years.
L3Harris supplies the critical audio interface, speaker and control unit onboard the Lockheed Martin-built Orion spacecraft, which allows mission-essential communication among astronauts, NASA and the world.
Anticipated to launch in 2024, the lunar flyby with four astronauts onboard will test NASA’s capabilities for human deep-space exploration.
“For more than six decades, we have partnered with NASA to develop technology that has made significant impacts on space exploration,” said Ed Zoiss, President, Space and Airborne Systems, L3Harris. “For as long as NASA has been sending humans to space, L3Harris has been pushing the limits of audio technological advancements, providing critical communication capabilities for all aspects of the space mission.
“The engineering, design and manufacturing of the L3Harris audio system can withstand the unique demands of human spaceflight; this along with our history of proven solutions, sets us apart from the competition.”
L3Harris’ audio control unit acts as the brain for the communications system and emergency radio while the speaker unit provides the audio. The lightweight audio interface unit clips to an astronaut’s suit and incorporates voice sensitivity for hands-free use. The system features five voice channels, low-power consumption and 13 alarms that provide real-time situational awareness.
The L3Harris audio system, designed and qualified to operate in deep space and provided to Lockheed Martin for integration onto Orion is adaptable to meet a variety of future NASA or commercial spaceflight missions.
L3Harris designed and built the audio system in Palm Bay, Florida and provided it to Lockheed Martin, NASA’s prime contractor for Orion in October 2022 at Kennedy Space Center. The three-part audio system, installed in the Artemis II Orion capsule, is currently undergoing system-level tests in preparation for the upcoming mission.
Additionally, L3Harris supplies launch vehicle avionics technology for NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) Rocket, which launched the Artemis I mission and will launch the subsequent Artemis II and III missions.