NASA satellite on mission to Mars boasts composite components

By Rhoda Miel
News Editor

Published: November 21, 2013 12:48 pm ET
Updated: November 21, 2013 1:01 pm ET

NASA-MAVEN-spacecraft-composites-jpg

Image By: NASA/Kim Shiflett Inside the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, engineers and technicians prepare the MAVEN spacecraft for encapsulation inside its payload fairing.

Related to this story

Topics Aerospace, Materials Suppliers

CAPE CANAVERAL, FLA. — Plastics are headed back to Mars in the composite structure of the latest NASA satellite to study the planet.

TenCate Advanced Composites NV supplied the carbon fiber composite that is part of the MAVEN — which stands for Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution — project. MAVEN headed into space during a Nov. 18 launch from Cape Canaveral.

MAVEN is specifically designed to collect data from Mars' upper atmosphere, unlike other high profile projects such as the Rover. NASA officials noted in a Nov. 14 news release on the project that Mars once had surface water, but the atmosphere thinned and it lost that water. Scientists speculate that the sun may have played a role in allowing vital gases to escape from the atmosphere, but have not been able to confirm that.

"Mars is a complicated system, just as complicated as earth in its own way," said Bruce Jakosky, the mission's principal investigator. "You can't hope, with a single spacecraft, to study all aspects and learn everything there is to know about it. With MAVEN, we're exploring the single biggest unexplored piece of Mars so far."

MAVEN is a 7.5-feet by 7.5-feet by 6.5-feet cube built out of composite panels made with an aluminum honeycomb core sandwiched between composite face sheets. The entire structure weighs 275 pounds, but was designed to support the entire spacecraft mass during launch.

It is expected to reach Mars' upper atmosphere and begin its mission in September.


Comments

NASA satellite on mission to Mars boasts composite components

By Rhoda Miel
News Editor

Published: November 21, 2013 12:48 pm ET
Updated: November 21, 2013 1:01 pm ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Soaring business leads to growth for Composites Horizons

August 19, 2014 1:56 pm ET

Composites Horizons LLC is investing $12 million in new equipment and processes, in part for ceramic matrix composite production in its fourth...    More

Image

ISO publishes international standard for measuring phthalates in toys

August 19, 2014 10:40 am ET

The Geneva-based International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has published an international standard on phthalates used as plasticizers in...    More

Image

RTP expands very long fiber thermoplastic production to Mexico

August 19, 2014 9:47 am ET

RTP Co. has introduced very long fiber reinforced compounds at its Monterrey, Mexico, facility.    More

Image

Ineos takes its first step into UK shale exploration

August 18, 2014 1:15 pm ET

Ineos Group AG has moved into United Kingdom shale exploration with the purchase of BG Group’s 51 percent share of the shale section of a joint ...    More

Image

Construction firm invests in bioplastics maker Meredian

August 15, 2014 10:22 am ET

Bioplastics maker Meredian Inc. didn't have to go far to find a new investor.    More

Market Reports

Thermoformed Packaging 2014 Market Review & Outlook North America

This in-depth report analyzes economic and market trends, legislative/regulatory activity impacting supply and demand, business opportunities and threats, materials pricing, manufacturing technology, as well as growth strategies being implemented by thermoformed packaging companies.

Learn more

Pipe, Profile & Tubing Extrusion in North America 2014

U.S. demand for extruded plastics is expected to grow by 3 percent in 2014, with PVC remaining the largest segment.

Plastic pipe will post the strongest gains through 2018, continuing to take market share from competing materials in a range of markets.

Our latest market report provides in-depth analysis of current trends and their financial impact on the pipe, profile and tubing extrusion industry in North America.

Learn more

2014 Injection Molding Industry Report

GROWTH, OPPORTUNITY IN SIGHT FOR INJECTION MOLDERS IN 2014

In the wake of the economic turbulence earlier in this decade, molders today find themselves in much better shape. Molders are gaining a competitive advantage by investing in people, equipment and seeking inroads into new markets on a global scale.

Growth in the injection molding industry is going to be driven by low financing costs and a continued move to reshore some business.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

September 10, 2014 - September 12, 2014Plastics Caps & Closures 2014

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

More Events