Emcore will manufacture the solar panels for NASA Ames’ Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE), a robotic mission designed to orbit the Moon.

LADEE’s main objective is to study and characterize the lunar atmosphere, including fine dust particles suspended above the lunar surface.

The spacecraft is currently scheduled to be launched in early 2013 aboard a Minotaur V vehicle from the Wallops Flight Facility, Wallops Island, Virginia.

A total of 32 solar panels will be built for LADEE at Emcore’s manufacturing facilities located in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Emcore COO Christopher Larocca said the company has previously been awarded solar panel contracts for several other NASA missions, including the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and the Magnetospheric Multi-Scale missions.

Emcore is a manufacturer of highly-efficient radiation-hard solar cells for space power applications.