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.


 
 

 
LM-MUOS

U.S. Navy, Lockheed Martin ready to launch MUOS-4 Aug. 31

The U.S. Navy and Lockheed Martin are ready to launch the fourth Mobile User Objective System secure communications satellite, MUOS-4, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., Aug. 31 aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V...
 
 

NASA seeks proposals for extreme environment solar arrays

NASA’s space technology program is seeking proposals to develop solar array systems for space power in high radiation and low solar energy environments. In the near future, NASA will need solar cells and arrays for multiple applications in robotic and human space exploration missions. Because these systems were traditionally developed for operation near Earth, there...
 
 

NASA awards contract for construction of new mission launch command center

NASA has awarded a contract to Harkins Contracting Inc. of Salisbury, Maryland, for the construction of a new Mission Launch Command Center at the agency’s Wallops Flight Facility in Wallops Island, Va. The new 14,174 square-foot facility will serve as the hub for interfacing with and controlling rockets, their payloads and associated launch pad support...
 

 
NASA photograph

NASA concludes series of engine tests for next-gen rocket

NASA photograph The RS-25 engine fires up for a 535-second test Aug. 27, 2015 at NASA’s Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Miss. This is the final in a series of seven tests for the development engine, which will pr...
 
 
LM-satellite

Lockheed Martin makes tiny satellite cooling system

Lockheed Martin scientists are packing three times the power density into a key satellite cooling system whose previous design is already the lightest in its class. This project continues the company’s effort to reduce co...
 
 
Northrop Grumman photograph by Bob Brown

Northrop Grumman delivers telescope structure for James Webb Space Telescope

Northrop Grumman photograph by Bob Brown Northrop Grumman employees preparing the telescope structure, for NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope for shipment to Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. REDONDO BEACH, Cal...
 




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=""> <s> <strike> <strong>