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Mars Pathfinder flight system integration and test

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1 Author(s)
Muirhead, B.K. ; Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Technol., Pasadena, CA, USA

This paper describes the system integration and test experiences, problems and lessons learned during the assembly, test and launch operations (ATLO) phase of the Mars Pathfinder flight system scheduled to land on the surface of Mars on July 4, 1997. The Mars Pathfinder spacecraft consists of three spacecraft systems: cruise stage, entry vehicle and lander. The cruise stage carries the entry and lander vehicles to Mars and is jettisoned prior to entry. The entry vehicle, including aeroshell, parachute and deceleration rockets, protects the lander during the direct entry and reduces its velocity from 7.6 to 0 km/s in stages during the 5 minute entry sequence. The lander's touchdown is softened by airbags which are retracted once stopped on the surface. The lander then uprights itself, opens up fully and begins surface operations including deploying its camera and rover. This paper overviews the system design and the results of the system integration and test activities, including the entry, descent and landing subsystem elements. System test experiences including science instruments, the microrover, Sojourner, and software are discussed. The final qualification of the entry, descent and landing (EDL) subsystems during this period is also discussed

Published in:

Aerospace Conference, 1997. Proceedings., IEEE  (Volume:4 )

Date of Conference:

1-8 Feb 1997