Custom Design Services

Malin Space Science Systems (MSSS) has extensive experience designing and building innovative spaceflight cameras and instrument systems that set new performance benchmarks at reduced cost, working within highly constrained mass, volume, and power envelopes.

We have delivered or have in development twenty cameras for flight on NASA and commercial missions, and are currently in development on two additional flight imaging systems. Three of our cameras are operating in orbit around Mars right now; three more are currently orbiting and imaging the moon.  MSSS instruments have operated in deep space for a total of more than 220,000 hours, and have returned more than a half million images.

Our personnel are experienced in both science and engineering — we can translate your requirements and mission constraints into detailed designs and provide flight-ready instruments that deliver the performance you require.

Instruments in development or delivered by MSSS include:

  • Mastcam Zoom, Mars Science Laboratory Rover
  • Junocam, Juno Jupiter Orbiter
  • Mastcam 34mm, Mars Science Laboratory Rover
  • Mastcam 100mm, Mars Science Laboratory Rover
  • Mars Hand Lens Imager, Mars Science Laboratory Rover
  • Mars Descent Imager, Mars Science Laboratory Rover
  • Camera Monitoring Assembly, Classified Earth Orbiter
  • Narrow Angle Camera, Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter
  • Wide Angle Camera, Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter
  • Mars Descent Imager, Phoenix Mars Lander
  • Context Imager, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter
  • Mars Color Imager, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter
  • Wide and Narrow Field Cameras, AstroVision (Earth remote sensing mission)
  • TPS camera, The Planetary Society Cosmos-1 Mission
  • THEMIS Visible Imaging Subsystem, Mars Odyssey
  • Mars Descent Imager, Mars Polar Lander
  • Mars Color Imager Wide Angle Camera, Mars Climate Orbiter
  • Mars Color Imager Medium Angle Camera, Mars Climate Orbiter
  • Mars Orbiter Camera, Mars Global Surveyor

In differing ways, each of these imaging systems illustrates our approach to instrument development — use the best available appropriate technologies to provide the performance necessary to meet the mission goals, with a sensible balance between reliability and cost effectiveness. All instruments delivered by MSSS were delivered on time and on budget.

For competitively bid missions (eg, Discovery, New Frontiers), minimizing mass and cost are key constraints that must be satisfied while providing the performance required to meet the scientific goals of the mission at an appropriate level of assurance. Development costs can be substantially reduced and assurance can be maximized by using an existing flight-qualified design. Mass can be minimized by trading it off against performance — using the lowest mass design that can deliver the required performance. MSSS has a number of flight-qualified camera electronics designs that provide a range of choices to select from in the trade-off between mass and performance.

For missions with highly-tailored instrument requirements, MSSS provides custom engineering and hardware development. Our flight-proven camera electronics can be supplied with appropriate optics and filters to meet specific resolution, field of view, and spectral requirements.

Missions with more flexible requirements and more constrained budgets or schedules can leverage the ECAM modular space camera platform.

We look forward to discussing your requirements. Please click here to request information.