Aerojet Rocketdyne Delivers Power Generator for Mars 2020 Rover
The Multi-Mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (MMRTG) will supply electrical power to the rover as it traverses the red planet, collecting samples for a potential return to Earth by a future mission. A similar device supplied by Aerojet Rocketdyne continues to power the Mars Curiosity rover, which has been exploring the Martian surface since 2012.
The MMRTG converts heat generated by the natural decay of plutonium-238 into electricity. Radioisotope power sources, which also provide heat to a spacecraft’s components, are typically used on long-duration deep space missions, where the great distance from the sun dramatically reduces the effectiveness of solar arrays.
“We’re best known for propulsion, but our role in supporting space programs certainly does not end there,” said Eileen Drake, Aerojet Rocketdyne CEO and president. “We’ve built lithium-ion batteries for the
Aerojet Rocketdyne was awarded a DOE contract in 2003 to develop and produce MMRTGs. In addition to the MMRTG for the Curiosity rover, the DOE authorized assembly of two additional flight units: one for Mars 2020 and one for a future mission. One unit will be fueled for Mars 2020, and the other unit will remain unfueled and in reserve for a future mission.
After being fueled and tested at INL, the Mars 2020 MMRTG will be delivered to NASA’s
The MMRTG is just one of Aerojet Rocketdyne’s contributions to Mars 2020, key elements of which are now coming together at NASA’s
Like the Curiosity rover, the one-ton Mars 2020 rover will be lowered to the Martian surface on a cable via a novel device called the Sky Crane. Aerojet Rocketdyne MR-60 rocket engines will allow the Sky Crane to hover about 20 feet above the surface while lowering the rover and then fly safely away once the task is completed.
About Aerojet Rocketdyne: Aerojet Rocketdyne, a subsidiary of
A photo accompanying this announcement is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/bc274de7-8c3c-4fde-a306-c7d901120ee1
Source: Aerojet Rocketdyne, Inc.