2021-03-05

Northrop Grumman will build a propulsion system for NASA’s Mars Ascending Spacecraft

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Northrop Grumman will build a propulsion system for NASA’s Mars Ascending Spacecraft

Although NASA’s “Perseverance” probe has not yet rolled over its wheels on the surface of Mars, NASA and ESA have already begun the next phase of multi-spacecraft MSR Mission, which will bring a sample of Mars back to Earth for the first time.

When Perseverance completes its long system check and begins its scientific mission, it will be the first time since the Viking landed on Mars in 1976 to directly search for the present or past on Mars Try for signs of life.

This scientific mission not only requires collecting soil and rock samples but also sealing them in protective tubes on the surface of Mars. In the next few years, the sample recovery lander will land and deploy the sample acquisition rover to recover the sample tubes, then return to the lander and load them into the micro air vehicle. The MAV will launch the sample capsule into orbit, where another spacecraft will rendezvous to collect the sample capsule and eventually bring it back to Earth.

MAV’s propulsion system has become a key part of this work in the future. Although one-third of the gravity and thin atmosphere on Mars will make the two-stage micro-aircraft much smaller than its counterparts on Earth, after the earth’s lift-off, months-long voyage to Mars, and difficult landing, The rocket engine must be able to operate automatically.

In order to achieve this goal, Northrop Grumman won a cost-plus, fixed-fee mission service contract with a contract value between US$60.2 million and US$84.5 million. The MAPS project will begin immediately. The initial plan is 14 months. There are two optional extensions that will be determined by NASA. During this period, the company will provide propulsion systems, logistics support and necessary equipment.