NEO Surveyor: MAAD being lifted

Workers in white protective clothing use a crane to lift and move cream-colored equipment that will be used to help build NEO Surveyor.
This image shows the MAAD being lifted from the base of the MATS after the lid had been removed.
July 2, 2024
Historical DateJune 7, 2024
PIA NumberPIA26382
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At NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, on June 7, 2024, clean room technicians use a crane to lift the lid of the Medium Articulating Transportation System (MATS) that will be used during the construction and transportation of components for NASA's Near-Earth Object Surveyor mission. Inside the MATS is the Medium Articulating Assembly Dolly (MAAD), a platform that will support the spacecraft's instrument enclosure, which is being constructed inside the High Bay 1 clean room at JPL's Spacecraft Assembly Facility.

The MAAD is an articulating platform on which a spacecraft (or spacecraft components) can be mounted securely and positioned as required during assembly. It can tilt a spacecraft vertically and horizontally, rotating it 360 degrees. JPL plans to use the MAAD for future missions to reduce the number of crane lifts during assembly, test, and launch operations, known as ATLO. NEO Surveyor is the first mission to use the platform.

This image shows the MAAD being lifted from the base of the MATS after the lid had been removed.

NEO Surveyor's instrument enclosure contains the spacecraft's telescope, mirrors, and infrared sensors that will be used to detect, track, and characterize the most hazardous near-Earth objects. BAE Systems, Space Dynamics Laboratory, and Teledyne are among the aerospace and engineering companies contracted to build the spacecraft and its instrumentation. The Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado, Boulder will support operations, and IPAC at Caltech in Pasadena, California, is responsible for processing survey data and producing the mission's data products. JPL manages the project; Caltech manages JPL for NASA.

Launching no earlier than 2027, NEO Surveyor supports the objectives of NASA's Planetary Defense Coordination Office (PDCO) at NASA Headquarters in Washington. The NASA Authorization Act of 2005 directed NASA to discover and characterize at least 90% of the near-Earth objects more than 140 meters (460 feet) across that come within 30 million miles (48 million kilometers) of our planet's orbit. Objects of this size can cause significant regional damage, or worse, should they impact the Earth.

More information about NEO Surveyor is available at: