Mars was a land engineer for Redmond's rock engineers


At the Aerojet Rocketdyne in Redmond, who created the rocket engines for NASA's latest mission to Mars, the final "seven minutes of boundary" was at the top end of the familiar surface, but who was still intense.

In all the desires of Mars, the engineers call the "seven minutes of terror".

That is so far as far as possible from the time of a spacecraft; enter the Martian environment at around 12,000 miles to the time it affects the & # 39; Red Planet.

And in those seven minutes, there is nothing to do people back on Earth just waiting and hope.

For the Aerojet Rocketdyne engineers and others based on Redmond, rocket maker makers for the latest Mars to Mars mission, these seven minutes came shortly before Monday.

"My heart was just scratching," said Matt Dawson, 45, chief engineer for the InSight project at Aerojet Rocketdyne, as he was standing near the back of the show at his. company.

Previously, around 100 of Dawson's co-operators had been playing in to the room, and # 39; eyesight of two large video screens live video from the control of the Laboratory Jet Propulsion in Pasadena, California.

Six months earlier, the cardboard spacecraft was launched to a place from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Now, after traveling almost 300 million miles, the boat was going to make its final approach.

As Dawson and his colleagues looked, the ship sank into the oceanic oceanic atmosphere of Martian and began a mixture of heat separation interference, the use of specialized parachute, and careful cuisines from the rocket engines – a & # 39; means that the ship was dragged from intermediate distance to the rear winding speed on Earth.

The room was always in the room. Although Aerojet Rocketdyne is a craftsman on many of these disasters – his company has been involved in the successful seven successful Mars events, Beginning with the Viking mission in 1975 – this final is just as difficult.

"In those seven minutes, there are 15 things that need to be done, in sequence, and everyone without a failure," said Rob Dooley, 53, a project engineer while & # 39; It was close to the hospital and watching life from JPL S-West "And our engines are the last ones."

And perhaps the most important thing. Aerojet Rocketdyne's various engines appear in all stages of the InSight mission, from landbuilding – "The way to Mars is going through Redmond," is translated by Ken Young, Redmond's general business manager . But the insulation engines that determine whether the complex purpose, which aims to measure Mars and its map, reaching its Red Planet in a working situation.

As the spacecraft falls about 1km above the Martian surface, the 800 -NN must be separated from the aerodynamic shell outside and fire with its 12 engines. Over the next few fingers, these engines will move into a revitalization, and, dragging the stream so that its final impact can be included with the three legs for spring.

That movement can not be ruled from Earth in real time. Mars is so far off that Earth's radio shows take eight minutes; The spacecraft attack – it was too big for work so beautiful. Instead, all motions are pre-recorded into the control of the aircraft.

And sometimes, these programs do not work. Most of the people in the office on Monday may well be aware of how the European Spouse of the European Schiaparelli Mars, which fell on October 19, 2016, was three minutes after being a & # 39; hit the Martian atmosphere, as a result of glitch data.

All this means that people such as Dawson and Dooley can only watch and wait. "It's a bad break," left Dooley.
Indeed, as the technology of Mission Control started the final stages of the journey process, the dining in the room had changed quite tightly.

At 11:53 a.m., the laird met the 1-kilometer measurement. As a radar was aboard on the surface, the laird was separated from the shell and burned up the 12 engines.

"These are our engines," he said to Dooley, laughing a lot of relief.

The second after that, the Mission of Control began to count its height, in an early fire.

"Six hundred meters."

"Three hundred meters."

"Sixty meter."

The numbers started to arrive faster. The room was quietly.

"Five minutes. Velocity is consistent."


"Seventeen meters. Standing for a touchdown."

Then … there was nothing. The PA was silent. The room was so quiet and you would hear analysts. The bees are dilated by seismic behavior.

Finally, 15 seconds later, Sinnidh's Control technology said, "Touchdown proved." The room was ended up in a comic and closing room.

After that, after most of the Aerojet Rocketdyne staff returned to work, Dooley and Dawson stood behind the room and spoke about this seven minute episode of terror.

The two people were laughed at their own distress. But both were clear enough, although they knew that the resilience was only temporary: Aerojet Rocketdyne is part of another mission, NAS20 Mars 2020 Rover.

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

In the coming months, InSight will begin to explore the underground Martian, with the aim of helping scientists to understand how they were created; create a planet, lessons that may also help to light beyond the sources of the Land. Listen to audio – marsquakes – and collect data that will be combined in a map inside the red planet.

InSight came ashore at Elysium Planitia, near the middle zone in the northern hemisphere. Confident scientists have described the area like a lot of parking or "Kansas with oats".

Its main focus on the surface is to last almost two years. He will try to answer a range of questions: how often does the ground scratch with marsquakes? How big is a soft heart inside Mars? How thick is the rubbish? What heat is running up from a & # 39; reducing the radical elements at the heart of its planet?

InSight carries out two main instruments: a global shaped package with seismometers and a heat spray that is going to be in place; excavating about 16 feet down. NASA has spent $ 814 million on InSight. In addition, France and Germany spent £ 180 million to build these key instruments.

The seismometers, designed to measure surface movements less than the atmosphere of hydrogen atoms, and transmit what they are; in concepts of planetary foundations. In particular, scientists are trying to '& # 39; Record at least 10 to 12 marsquakes over two years.

InSight did not enter only one Monday's success in NASA. Their organization used its purpose to test new technology.

Two equivalent spaceships called Mars Cube One, not MarCO for short, launched by InSight in May. MarCO A and B were then split from the InSight platform and have been behind them since then.

Hundreds of the small lines named CubeSats have been launched in an orbit around the Earth in recent years, but this is the first time that CubeSats was put on an internet trip.

New York Times added this report.

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