Wednesday , June 23 2021

The landing & # 39; Mars was lean for rocket engineers & # 39; Redmond



In Rocketdyne Aerojet f & # 39; Redmond, who made the rocket engines for the last NASA mission in & # 39; Mars, the last "seven & # 39; minutes & # 39; terror" as the led to landing surface were familiar, but still intense.

F & # 39; a mission to Mars, is what engineers call "seven & # 39; & # 39 minutes; terror."

This is roughly how long the moment spacecraft enters the Martian atmosphere at & # 39; about 12,000 mph by the time next to the Red Planet.

And during those seven & # 39; minutes, m & # 39; there is nothing that people return the world to do but wait and hope.

For engineers and others in & # 39; Aronik Rocketdyne based in & # 39; Redmond, makers rocket engines for the last NASA mission in & # 39; Mars, those seven & # 39; minutes came just before the day of & # 39; Monday.

"My heart was very encouraged," said Matt Dawson, 45, engineer for the project in Insight & # 39; Aerojet Rocketdyne, since it was near the company back of the auditorium.

Moments before, roughly 100 colleagues from & # 39; Dawson had increased forward into the room, their eyes Raised on two large screens carrying live video from mission control in Laboratory jet propulsion f & # 39; Paladena, California.

[Related: ‘Flawless’: NASA craft lands on Mars after perilous journey]

Six months before, the spacecraft golf cart-size was launched into space from Vandenberg Air Force Base in & # 39; California. Now, after traveling nearly 300 million miles, the ship was making its final approach.

As Dawson and his colleagues were watching, the vessel entered the thin atmosphere and started marzjana combination & # 39; maneuvers – separation of its heat shield, deployment & # 39; special parachute, and pulsed & # 39; focus held by the rocket engines – the interplanetarju step to speed & # 39; jogger back on Earth.

The atmosphere in the room was tense. Although Aerojet Rocketdyne is a veteran of & # 39; these landings – the company has been involved in seven & # 39; missions & # 39; success & # 39; USA f & # 39; Mars, starting with Viking mission in 1975 – this final stage is just as exciting.

"F & # 39; those seven minutes, a 15-something to take place, b & # 39; sequential manner, and all without failure", said Rob Dooley, 53, the project of manufacturing engineer, since it was sit near the back of the auditorium and see the live feed from JPL. "And our machines are the last descendants."

And perhaps the most important. Several Aerojet engine Rocketdyne appear in & # 39; each stage of Insight mission, from liftoff to landing – "The path to Mars passes Redmond", urged Ken Young, general manager of the Redmond company's operations. But are the engines & # 39; descent to determine whether the mission & # 39; years, whose aim is to measure and dates back to subterranean Mars, reach the Red Planet in & # 39; working condition.

As the spacecraft comes & # 39; approximately 1 km & # 39; above the Martian surface, the artillery & # 39; 800 pound shall separate from the aerodynamic shell & # 39; out and expel the 12 its engine. Over the next few seconds, those machines maneuver in Lander & # 39; & # 39 position, touchdown, and landing to reduce the final impact can & # 39; absorbed by three feet loaded with spring.

Those maneuvers can not be controlled from the World & # 39 in real-time. Mars is so & # 39; distant radio signals from Earth to take eight minutes to reach the spacecraft – a big delay too delicate for such operation. Instead, the maneuvers are all programmed in advance in the flight controls.

And sometimes, those programs do not work. The majority of people in the theater Monday were probably aware of the fact that the aircraft & # 39; Schiaparelli Mars threatened the European Space Agency, which has suffered in 19 & # 39; In October 2016, three minutes after receiving the Martian atmosphere, because of the defect data.

All this means that people like Dawson and Dooley can only watch and wait. "It's a little nerve-wracking," Dooley admitted.
Indeed, since the technician at Mission Control the fire of the final steps of the process & # 39; landing, the mood in a room surrounded by palpable.

F & # 39; about 11: 53 a.m., the ażilier hit the mark & ​​# 39; one kilometer. As board radar mounted on the surface, the consignor separated from the shell and fired 12 machine.

"Those are our machines", shouted to Dooley, a smile & # 39; suffering.

Seconds later, Mission Control began the countdown of & # 39; altitude, f & # 39; rithmika fast women.

"Six hundred meters."

"Three hundred meters."

"Six meters."

The numbers started to come faster. The room went quiet.

"Fifty meters. Constant Speed."

"Twenty meters."

"Seventeen meters. Standing by for a touchdown."

Then … nothing. The PA went silent. The room was so quiet that you & # 39; hear breathing engineers. Follow marked & # 39; agonizzanti disability.

Finally, 15 seconds later, the technician Mission Control said, "The confirmed touchdowns." The room erupted with applause and they've.

Moments later, after many employees & # 39; Aerojet Rocketdyne returned to work, Dooley and Dawson at the back of the room and talked about this seventh edition & # 39; Minutes & # 39; terror.

Both men were speaking about their own nerves. But both were denied by & # 39; clearly, though they knew that the relief was only temporary: Aerojet Rocketdyne is involved in & # 39; other mission, Mars Rover 2020 & # 39; NASA.

As Dooley puts, "we will be back here in & # 39; two, do it again."

In the coming months, Insight will begin its study of the Martian underworld, with the aim of helping scientists understand how the planet was formed, lessons can also help shed light on the origin of the World. Will listen & # 39; tremors – marsquakes – and gather data that will be presented together in & # 39; & # 39 lokna of; the interior of the red planet.

Insight landed in & # 39; Elysium Planitia, near the equator in the northern hemisphere. The mission scientists described the region as resembling lot & # 39; parking or "Kansas without grain."

Its primary mission is on the surface that lasts almost two years. It will try to answer a variety of & # 39; questions: unless the ground shaking with & # 39; marsquakes? How big heart melted within Mars? How thick is the crust? Both earn & # 39; heat from the decay of & # 39; Radioactive elements in the planet's core?

Insight carry two main tools: package with & # 39; & # 39 form, which the dome sismometri and heat probe vacated about 16 feet & # 39; down. NASA spent $ 814 million on Insight. In addition, France and Germany have invested $ 180 million to build these key instruments.

The sismometri, which are designed to measure facial movements less than the width & # 39; of & # 39; atom & # 39; hydrogen, produce what are essentially sonogrammi of & # 39; interior of the Earth. B & # 39; in particular, scientists are seeking to enroll at least 10 to 12 brands over a year.

The landing & # 39; Insight was the only successful NASA on Monday. The agency used the mission to test new technology.

Two identical spacecraft called Mars One Cube, or Marcos short, launched b & # 39; & # 39 Insight in; May. Marco A and B were then separated from the cruise stage & # 39; Insight and then & # 39; the returned here.

Hundreds & # 39; small satellites called CubeSats launched into orbit around the Earth in & # 39; in recent years, but this is the first time CubeSats interplanetarju sent on a journey.

[Read more and listen to podcasts about the Mars InSight Mission on NASA’s site »]

The New York Times contributed to this report.


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