Tuesday , May 17 2022

Mars landing was nails for Redmond rocket engineers


At Aerojet Rocketdyne in Redmond, who made the rocket engines for NASA's latest NASA mission, the final "seven minutes of terrorism" was because the landowner on top of the surface was familiar, but still intense.

In every mission to Mars, engineers call "seven minutes of terrorism".

That is roughly how long it takes from the moment in which a spacecraft enters a Mediterranean atmosphere of around 12,000 mph to the moment that it is. touched on the Red Plate.

And during those seven minutes, there is nothing for people back on Earth to just wait and hope.

For the engineers and others at Aerojet Rocketdyne, based on Redmond, makers of the rocket machines for NASA's latest NASA mission, it came seven minutes just before Monday morning.

"My heart was pounding," said Matt Dawson, 45, the chief engineer of the InSight project at Aerojet Rocketdyne, as he stands up the company's auditorium.

Few incidents before that, around 100 Dawson colleagues had assembled an exciting room to the room, and their eyes were transported on two large screens that carried a live video of mission management at the Jet Lab Propulsion in Pasadena, California.

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

Six months ago, the golf-cart space was launched into a place from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Now, after traveling almost 300 million miles, the ship was making its final way.

As Dawson and his colleagues watched, the ship wrapped into a thin Martian atmosphere and began a combination of movements – separating from its heat shield, using a special parachute, and a weighted acne; carefully from the rocket machines – means slowing the ship from an inter-panel speed to the jogger speed back on Earth.

The atmosphere in the room was time. Although Aerojet Rocketdyne is a great veteran of such attractions – the company has been part of the successful seven months in the United States to Mars, starting with the Viking mission in 1975 – this last stage is so exciting.

"In those seven minutes, there are 15 things that have to happen, follow-up, and everyone without failure," said Rob Dooley, 53, the manufacturing engineer and the project, as he stood by the auditorium and watched the live feed from JPL. "And our machines fall into last ones."

And controversial is the most important thing. Aerojet Rocketdyne's various appliances appear in all stages of the InSight mission, from a lift to land – "The route to Mars is going through Redmond," said Ken Young, general manager of the company's Redmond operations. But here are the fall machines that determine whether the tile-tier nation, whose objective is to measure and map the bottom Mars, reaches the Red Planet in a working state.

As the spacecraft is approximately 1km above the Mediterranean surface, the 800-bunner terrain must be separate from the external aerodynamic shell and the fire of its 12 machines. Over the next few seconds, those machines move the lander to a touch position, and slow down the ground so that it can be absorbed by its three spring legs.

Those movements of the Earth can not be managed in real time. Mars is so far away that Radio Earth signals would take eight minutes to reach the spacecraft – too large for such a special surgery. Instead, all movements have been piloted into the flight controls.

And sometimes those programs do not work. Most people in the Monday auditorium were very interesting about the Marsa Schiaparelli Marsa European Space Agency, which crashed on October 19, 2016, three minutes after hitting the Martian atmosphere, due to glitch data.

They all mean that people like Dawson and Dooley can watch and wait alone. "There are a few nerves," said Dooley.
Indeed, as the Mission Management technician began to report on the final stages of the landing process, the mood in the room turned a long time.

Around 11:53 a.m., hit the 1 cylometer mark. As the radar on the board was locked up on the surface, the heater had separated from the shell and the fuel 12 had fired.

"That's the machines," said Dooley, for a lot of laughter.

Secondly a second later, Managing Mission began the height reduction, in a rapid rhythmic fire.

"Six hundred meters."

"Three hundred meters."

"Sixty meter."

The numbers began to become faster. The room went quietly.

"Fifty meters. Constant speed."

"Deng meter."

"Sixteen meters Standing for touchdown."

Then … nothing. The PA went silent. The room was so quiet that you could hear engineers breathe. Touching moments with harassment.

Finally, 15 seconds later, the Mission Management technician said, "Touchdown confirmed." The room was marvelous in approval and weighing.

Moments later, after most Aerojet Rocketdyne workers returned to work, Dooley and Dawson stood at the back of the room and talked about this seven minute edition of terrorism.

Both men were laughing for their own nervousness. But they were both released, although they knew that relief was only temporary: Aerojet Rocketdyne is part of another mission, NAS20 Mars 2020 Rover.

As Dooley gives, "We'll be back here in two years, doing it again."

In the coming months, InSight will begin its study under Martian underground, with the aim of helping scientists understand how the planet was formed, lessons that could also help to light the Earth's origin. He will listen to cruelty – marsquakes – and collect data that is rotated in a map within the red planet.

InSight led Elysium Planitia, near the equator in the northern hemisphere. Mission scientists have described the region that is similar to much parking or "Kansas without corn".

His main mission on the surface is for almost two years. He will try to answer a variety of questions: How often does the floor shake with marsquakes? How big is the molten core within Mars? How thick is the crust? How much heat does it flow up from the decomposition of radioactive elements in the middle of the planet?

InSight carries two main tools: a dome-shaped package that includes seismometers and a heat search engine that drops about 16 feet down. NASA has spent $ 814 million on InSight. In addition, France and Germany invested $ 180 million to build these main instruments.

The seismometers, designed to measure surface movements are less than a width of us hydrogen, will produce the basics of basics in the inner part of the planet. In particular, scientists are looking to record at least 10 to 12 marsquakes over two years.

InSight was not cleaned only on Monday's NASA success. The agency used the mission to test new technology.

Two exact spaceships were launched the same as Mars Cube One, or MarCO for short, with InSight in May. Then MarCO A and B were separated from the InSight cruise period and since then they have been holding behind.

Hundreds of small satellites called CubeSats have launched an orbit around the Earth in recent years, but this is the first time that CubeSats have been sent on an interplane trip.


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New York Times contributed to this report.

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