Mars 2020 Rover aeroshell delivered

Posted on 19 Jan 2020 and read 481 times
Mars 2020 Rover aeroshell deliveredThe capsule-shaped aeroshell that will protect NASA’s Mars 2020 rover has been delivered to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Built by Lockheed Martin (, the aeroshell will protect the rover during its cruise to Mars — and from the intense heat as the entry system descends through the Martian atmosphere.

Because the external temperatures could reach 3,800°F, the heat shield uses a tiled Phenolic Impregnated Carbon Ablator (PICA) thermal protection system instead of the Mars heritage Super Lightweight Ablator 561V.

This will only be the second time PICA has flown on a Mars mission.

Neil Tice, Mars 2020 aeroshell programme manager at Lockheed Martin Space, said: “Even though we have the experience of building the nearly identical aeroshell for the Curiosity Rover, the almost 15ft-diameter composite structure was just as big a challenge to build and test 10 years later.

"We have built every Mars aeroshell entry system for NASA’s 40 years of exploring Mars, so we pulled from that
experience to build this important system.”

The Mars 2020 rover is undergoing testing at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena (California), which manages the Mars 2020 project for the NASA Science Mission Directorate.

The mission is due to launch in July 2020 and land at the Jezero Crater on Mars in February 2021.

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