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The instruments aboard the Mars InSight lander, the first mission dedicated to investigating the deep interior of Mars, are powered by the circular solar arrays developed by Goleta's Orbital ATK, now owned by Northrop Grumman.

NASA

The instruments aboard the Mars InSight lander, the first mission dedicated to investigating the deep interior of Mars, are powered by the circular solar arrays developed by Goleta's Orbital ATK, now owned by Northrop Grumman.


Solar Wing’ Builders’ Building Changes Hands


Engineers and fabricators at the Orbital ATK building tucked away on Pine Avenue in Goleta’s Old Town built the solar “wings” that unfurled flawlessly on the Red Planet shortly after landing in November 2018. The company, acquired by Northrop Grumman Corp. in 2017, has been leasing the space, which just changed hands, Hayes Commercial announced on Thursday, building a special 24,000 square-foot high-bay structure in 2010 as a clean space.

Orbital, now Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems, placed the twin seven-foot solar arrays aboard the InSight Mars lander, which blasted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in May; the trip to Mars takes six months. The circular arrays have since then filled the batteries that power the instruments. “One hundred percent mission success is our goal,” said Northrop’s project manager Jim Spink. The solar arrays also fuel InSight’s robotic arm, which the NASA team on Earth has been using to place the instruments carefully on the surface. Most recently a temperature probe was placed on February 13 about three feet from the seismometer positioned in December, according to NASA reports. The wings can generate as much as 700 watts, and 200 watts once Mars dust obscures the cells on the lander, which has a lifespan of about two years.

The space leased at 600 Pine Avenue by Northrop Grumman — it paid $9.2 billion for Orbital in September 2017 — is a 6.58-acre parcel with an 83,500 square-foot building. Sold to a local investment group, the sale, which was listed at $22.9 million though the actual sale price was not announced, was handled entirely in-house with Steve Hayes and Francois DeJohn for sellers TCP-Pine LLC, an offshoot of Towbes Capital. Caitlin McCahill Hensel and Kristopher Roth represented the buyers, 600 Pine Partners LLC, who are Sep Wolf of Erfolg Properties and Jason Jaeger.

Hayes has brokered the three sales of the property since 1990. Northrop Grumman’s lease runs through 2025.

This story was updated on February 20, 2019, to include the names of the buyers and sellers.

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