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Bridgend Company Plays a Part in NASA Mars Mission

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NASA’s InSight lander, currently exploring the deep interior of Mars, was manufactured using UV laser wire marking technology pioneered by Bridgend-based Spectrum Technologies.

Spectrum has over 30 years’ experience in ultra violet laser technology, and as a world leader in laser wire and cable processing, the company’s equipment is used by every major aircraft manufacturer in the world, including Airbus, Boeing and BAE Systems. Lockheed Martin Space has used its Spectrum Nova laser wire marking equipment to process and identify all the wiring in the manufacture of the complex electrical wiring system for NASA JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s) Mars InSight lander.

The InSight lander touched down on Mars in late November, and deployed its first instrument, the highest priority seismometer onto the surface of Mars before the close of the year to measure ‘Marsquakes’. The two year mission is surveying the surrounding area and deploying the mission critical instruments, such as a planned heat probe later this month. Results should start to come through in about a year’s time.

Dr. Peter Dickinson, CEO at Spectrum, said:

“We may only have played a small part in this interplanetary project but I and all the team at Spectrum are exceptionally proud and excited to be associated with the Mars InSight programme. InSight is truly leading edge and we look forward with anticipation to seeing what new knowledge it turns up while it explores Mars and its deep interior.”

Spectrum supplied InSight’s prime contractor Lockheed Martin Space in Denver with a fully automated Nova 820 UV laser wire marking system, used in the initial stages of electrical harness production to laser mark, measure and cut wires to length. Apart from using the equipment for the InSight programme, Lockheed utilise the equipment for many other different programmes, including the wiring produced for the Kennedy Space Center for the Orion programme.

Since the company was founded in 1989, Spectrum has supplied almost 1,000 laser wire marking systems to over 50 countries, making it unquestionably the world market leader in the development, manufacture and supply of UV laser wire marking equipment. Spectrum typically exports more than 95% of its annual output from its Bridgend factory and has won numerous Queen’s Awards for International Trade.

InSight (Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport) is NASA’s latest Mars lander, designed to explore the deep interior of Mars. Lockheed Martin is the InSight prime contractor responsible for the complete spacecraft system.