About Malin Space Science Systems

Established in 1990, Malin Space Science Systems (MSSS) designs, builds, and operates space camera systems for government and commercial aerospace customers.

Three deep space cameras built by Malin Space Science Systems (MSSS) are currently operating in orbit around Mars. Three additional MSSS cameras are presently imaging the Moon from an orbital altitude of just 50 km. MSSS instruments have operated in deep space for a total of more than 220,000 hours and have returned more than 500,000 images.

This small, privately-owned company of ~30 full time employees provides products and services in three main areas:

  • Cameras for Spacecraft
  • Spacecraft Instrument Operations
  • Space Science Research

MSSS has produced visible and ultraviolet cameras for the Mars Global Surveyor (1996), Mars Climate Orbiter (1998), Mars Polar Lander (1999), Mars Odyssey (2001), Cosmos 1 (2005), Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (2005), Mars Scout Phoenix (2007), Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (2009), a classified U.S. spacecraft, and the Mars Science Laboratory rover (2011). MSSS is currently completing a camera for the Juno mission to Jupiter (2011) and a second pair of cameras for the Mars Science Laboratory rover.

MSSS also offers the ECAM modular space camera platform; high-performance radiation-tolerant space imaging systems. These systems are configured from compact color, monochrome, and long-wave infrared cameras (with standard or custom optics options) and multi-port digital video recorders that handle command sequencing, image processing and compression, non-volatile video storage, and power conditioning. The ECAM platform supports high-definition video and snapshot imaging at up to 5 Megapixel resolution. 

MSSS instrument operations services have focused on the Mars Observer Camera (1992–1993), the Mars Global Surveyor Mars Orbiter Camera (1997–2006), and the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Mars Color Imager and Context Camera (2006–Present). MSSS will also operate four cameras on the Mars Science Laboratory rover, Curiosity, and a camera on Juno, heading for Jupiter in 2011. MSSS personnel develop ground data system software; select imaging targets and command cameras on interplanetary spacecraft; and process, validate, and archive the returned scientific data.

MSSS space science research products have largely focused on the geology, geomorphology, and meteorology of the planet Mars. MSSS scientists have also participated in spacecraft missions to other bodies in our Solar System as Principal Investigators, Co-Investigators, and Collaborators. While mostly focused on Mars, MSSS scientists have also studied and have research backgrounds in various aspects of Mercury, Venus, Earth, the Moon, asteroids, and outer planet satellites and rings. MSSS has also teamed with engineers to develop Mars rover exploration techniques, gravity gradiometer experiments, and proposals for full-up planetary spacecraft missions.

MSSS offers a range of products and services to its customers. For example, we can:

  • Design and build cameras for your space flight project.
  • Operate your space flight instrument at MSSS, or you can arrange to operate it at your facility.
  • Design and write custom software for the operation of your space flight instrument (onboard software or ground data system and data analysis tools).
  • Partner with you to participate in the conduct of scientific research with your camera or instrument.
  • Offer our experience and expertise in hardware, software, operations, and science to the writing and review of the proposals for your space flight camera systems.