Space

August 6, 2012

Aerojet Propulsion helps land Mars Science Laboratory


 
Aerojet, a GenCorp company, announced Aug. 3 that its monopropellant hydrazine thrusters helped guide NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory to a successful landing on the red planet at 10:32 p.m., PDT, Aug. 5.

The much-anticipated landing delivered the rover Curiosity to the Martian surface.

Aerojet engines assisted with entry, descent and landing. The company’s thrusters also provided attitude control and trajectory correction maneuvers during the MSL’s transit to Mars.

MSL carried eight Aerojet MR-111C 1.0 lbf thrusters, eight Aerojet MR-107U 68 lbf thrusters and eight Aerojet MR-80B 800-lbf thrusters with a throttleable thrust range of >100:1. The 68 lbf and the 800 lbf thrusters supported the actual landing.

In June 2012, NASA reduced the MSL target landing area to about 12 miles long and four miles wide (20 kilometers by seven kilometers) on a site near the northern flank of Mount Sharp, inside Gale Crater on Mars. The landing timeline began with guided entry in the upper atmosphere of Mars and concluded with the sky crane drop-off of Curiosity and the remaining spacecraft fly-away.

This was the most complicated landing ever attempted on a planet.

“Aerojet joins NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in congratulating the MSL team on tonight’s historic landing,” said Julie Van Kleeck, Aerojet vice president of Space and Launch Systems. “Aerojet thrusters brought Viking 1 and 2 and the Phoenix Mars Lander to safe arrivals on Mars and we were confident that our MSL thrusters would once again help deliver success.”

The three different types of thrusters aboard the MSL were designed and manufactured at Aerojet’s Redmond, Wash. facility under contract to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The 800 lbf throttling engines were tested at Aerojet’s Sacramento facility.

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. has trimmed the distance Curiosity will drive after landing by almost half, allowing the rover to reach the mountain months earlier. NASA determined it was possible to adjust landing plans because of increased confidence in the precision landing technology aboard the MSL spacecraft. Rock layers located in the mountain are the prime location for rover research.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

NASA seeks proposals to develop capabilities for deep space exploration, journey to Mars

NASA is soliciting proposals for concept studies or technology development projects that will be necessary to enable human pioneers to go to deep space destinations such as an asteroid and Mars. Through a Broad Area Announcemen NASA released Oct. 28, the agency seeks to use public-private partnerships to share funding to develop advanced propulsion, habitation...
 
 
Photograph courtesy of  NASA/CXC/Stanford/I. Zhuravleva et al

NASA’S Chandra Observatory identifies impact of cosmic chaos on star birth

Photograph courtesy of NASA/CXC/Stanford/I. Zhuravleva et al Chandra observations of the Perseus and Virgo galaxy clusters suggest turbulence may be preventing hot gas there from cooling, addressing a long-standing question of ...
 
 

NASA hosts first agency-wide social media event for Orion’s first flight test

NASA invites social media followers to apply for credentials to get a preview of the Orion spacecraft’s first flight test during NASA Social events Dec. 3 at each of its 10 centers. Orion will launch on a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket from Space Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station,...
 

 
nasa-spacex

Critical NASA science returns to Earth aboard SpaceX Dragon spacecraft

SpaceX’s Dragon cargo spacecraft splashed down at 3:39 p.m., EDT, Oct. 25, in the Pacific Ocean, approximately 300 miles west of Baja California, returning 3,276 pounds of NASA cargo and science samples from the Internati...
 
 
NASA, ESA, PSI, JHU/APL, STScI/AURA image

Close encounters: Comet Siding Spring seen next to Mars

NASA, ESA, PSI, JHU/APL, STScI/AURA image This composite NASA Hubble Space Telescope Image captures the positions of comet Siding Spring and Mars in a never-before-seen close passage of a comet by the Red Planet, which happened...
 
 

NASA Astronaut Scott Kelly shares bullying prevention message ahead of one-year mission

NASA astronaut Scott Kelly, who is scheduled to fly on a one-year spaceflight mission in 2015, is lending his voice to help reduce childhood bullying. As part of Bullying Prevention Awareness Month, Kelly recorded a special message encouraging bystanders to take action. “Be more than just a bystander,” said Kelly in the message. “Take action...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>