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-hubble

NASA unveils celestial fireworks as official image for Hubble 25th Anniversary

The brilliant tapestry of young stars flaring to life resemble a glittering fireworks display in the 25th anniversary NASA Hubble Space Telescope image, released to commemorate a quarter century of exploring the solar system an...
 
 
NASA illustration

NASA awards radiation challenge winners, launches next round

NASA illustration This illustration depicts our heliosphere, showing the approximate locations of Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 spacecraft. Galactic cosmic rays originate outside the heliosphere and stream in uniformly from all direc...
 
 
NASA photograph

Celebrate with NASA as agency commemorates Hubble’s 25th anniversary

NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope is turning 25 this year. The observatory has transformed our understanding of our solar system and beyond, and helped us find our place among the stars. NASA is celebrating the Hubble Space T...
 

 

ULA unveils America’s new rocket

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=emmeil-0u5k&feature=player_embedded United Launch Alliance unveiled its Next Generation Launch System April 13 at the 31st Space Symposium. The new rocket, Vulcan, will transform the future of space by making launch services more affordable and accessible. The NGLS brings together decades of experience on ULA’s reliable Atlas and Delta vehicles, combin...
 
 
NASA/JHU APL/Carnegie Institution of Washington

NASA spacecraft achieves unprecedented success studying Mercury

NASA/JHU APL/Carnegie Institution of Washington NASA’s MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) spacecraft traveled more than six and a half years before it was inserted into orbit around Merc...
 
 

NASA selects American small business, research institution projects for further development

NASA has selected 149 research and technology proposals from American small businesses and research institutions that will enable NASA’s future missions into the solar system and beyond while benefiting America’s technology-driven economy right here on Earth. The selected proposals now will enter into negotiations for contract awards as part of Phase II of the agency’s...
 




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>