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Hamilton Sundstrand Rocketdyne Powers ‘Curiosity’ Rover on Mars

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Moments after Curiosity landed on Mars, the rover successfully began its mission to see whether the red planet has ever offered environmental conditions favorable for microbial life – thanks to power provided by Hamilton Sundstrand Rocketdyne, which helped design and develop the Multi-Mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (MMRTG).

The MMRTG, which has a design life of 14 years, has been built to operate in a range of harsh environments, from the vacuum of deep space to extreme planetary surface atmospheres. It was developed by Hamilton Sundstrand Rocketdyne and Teledyne Energy Systems in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy.

The MMRTG is being used for the first time on the Curiosity mission. It provides both heat and electrical power to the rover, and continuous electrical power that allows day and night operation. The heat is used to provide thermal stability for Curiosity without drawing on the rover’s electrical power.

Click here to read Pratt & Whitney’s press release.