Northrop Grumman has won a $3 million NASA contract to provide a key piece of navigation gear for the agency’s 2018 Solar Probe Plus mission to image and take in-situ measurements of the Sun’s corona.

Under the competitively bid contract, the company will deliver a Scalable Space Inertial Reference Unit, or Scalable SIRU, in May 2016. The device is designed to measure rotation-rate data for the systems that stabilize and point the spacecraft.

Based on Northrop Grumman’s patented hemispherical resonator gyro, the Scalable SIRU is space-qualified on missions that include the Messenger Mercury orbiter and the Global Precipitation Measurement spacecraft. In all, it has operated more than 28 million hr. in space without a mission failure, according to the company.