Might three, 2019 – Defending towards the extremes of area journey is essential to the success of any mission. Lockheed Martin has efficiently accomplished the flight construction of the warmth protect, validating the bodily integrity with a remaining static take a look at after exposing it to flight-like thermal circumstances. The warmth protect is half of the big and complex two-part aeroshell that Lockheed Martin is designing and constructing to encapsulate NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Mars 2020 rover from the punishing warmth and friction of entry by the Martian ambiance.
The Mars 2020 mission will likely be one of the vital difficult entry, descent and landings ever tried on the Pink Planet. The warmth protect aerodynamics function a “brake” to gradual the spacecraft from about 12,000 mph (19,300 kph) so the construction must be flawless. Because the tenth aeroshell system that Lockheed Martin has produced for NASA, this is without doubt one of the largest at 15 toes (four.5 meters) in diameter.
“Our expertise constructing aeroshells for NASA Mars missions doesn’t imply that it’s ‘simple’,” mentioned Neil Tice, Lockheed Martin Mars 2020 Aeroshell program supervisor. “Checks like this structural take a look at are completely important to making sure mission success within the long-run.”
The static take a look at was performed on April 25 and was designed to imitate the load that the warmth protect will expertise throughout probably the most excessive a part of its journey; the entry part. To try this, engineers used vacuum pumps to simulate the stress of roughly 140,000 kilos on the construction. The construction was examined to 120% of the anticipated flight load to push it to the restrict.
For this specific take a look at, the group additionally built-in a brand new type of instrumentation. Traditionally, this take a look at makes use of typical pressure gauges and extensometers to observe structural response at distinct factors throughout loading. Partnering with NASA Langley Analysis Heart, the group additionally utilized a brand new device known as Photogrammetry or Digital Picture Correlation. This allowed the group to observe full-field strains and displacements over the complete seen space of the construction in actual time. To make use of this method, a vinyl wrap, much like a decal, that has totally different visible cues (darkish random speckles over a white background) was utilized to the warmth protect. In the course of the take a look at, a set of digital cameras optically monitor any adjustments within the sample and generate a three-dimensional map of displacements and floor strains because the utilized load will increase.
“Whereas we’ve got used this full-field photogrammetry method on take a look at articles previously, that is the primary profitable implementation on official flight ,” mentioned Dr. Sotiris Kellas, NASA Langley aerospace engineer and lead for the technical demonstration. “This expertise will enable us to safeguard throughout testing however extra importantly present knowledge for take a look at evaluation correlation and enchancment of our design and evaluation instruments.”
Following this take a look at, the Lockheed Martin group will apply Phenolic Impregnated Carbon Ablator (PICA) thermal safety system tiles to the construction. As soon as full and thru all environmental testing, the total warmth protect will likely be mated to the backshell in early fall.
The Mars 2020 Undertaking at NASA JPL manages rover growth for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. The NASA Engineering and Security Heart at NASA Langley Analysis Heart supplied the photogrammetry assist for this take a look at.