NASA’s Perseverance is 14th Mars mission supported by Sierra Nevada Corporation |

NASA’s Perseverance is 14th Mars mission supported by Sierra Nevada Corporation

NNBW staff report
An artist’s rendering of NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance rover on Mars.
Courtesy: Sierra Nevada Corporation

SPARKS, Nev. — Sparks-based Sierra Nevada Corporation contributed eight unique components being used on NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance rover, including parts that enable the rover’s safe and stable descent onto the Martian surface.

According to a July 28 press release, the Perseverance mission, which launched July 30, marks the 14th Mars mission that SNC has supported through its parts and components. SNC’s eight mechanisms are used in 17 applications on the rover, such as on its robotic arm, turret coring drill and caching assembly.

“These applications are the heart of the Mars 2020 mission,” SNC CEO Fatih Ozmen said in a statement. “We are so excited that SNC’s custom-designed engineering is facilitating the groundbreaking work NASA wants to accomplish, in collecting samples from the Mars surface and preparing them to send back to Earth for analysis. We’re so proud to once again be part of the team.”

Per the press release, SNC engineering will be front and center when Perseverance makes it descent onto the red planet using the sky crane maneuver.

“Without the SNC-engineered descent brake mechanism, which has been utilized on prior Mars missions as well, the rover could not safely land on the surface of Mars,” according to SNC. “The descent brake ensures the rover lowers to Mars in a controlled manner. If the rover is lowered too slowly, the sky crane could run out of fuel and crash before getting the rover to the Mars surface.”

Perseverance is also making history by carrying Ingenuity, the first helicopter to fly on another planet — SNC developed the mechanism that assists in Ingenuity’s deployment. Once in flight, Ingenuity will study Mars from above, scouting locations for Perseverance to explore.

“SNC continues to advance space exploration with innovative technical solutions,” SNC Senior Vice President of Programs and former NASA astronaut Janet Kavandi said in a statement. “Our extensive flight heritage makes us a trusted provider of critical hardware to NASA flagship exploration programs.”

SNC has supplied more than 4,000 subsystems and components to the U.S. government, prime contractors and international customers since 1987, on over 400 space missions, with 100% mission success.

Perseverance is expected to land on Mars in February of 2021.