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

DuPont resins help take Nike golf balls 'Fore!'ward

July 25, 2014 1:07 pm ET

It may be difficult to imagine just how much science, not to mention rubber and plastic components, go into a golf ball. But global giant DuPont Co....    More

Image

Bioplastics maker wins government funding

July 25, 2014 12:13 pm ET

Canadian bioplastics maker Solegear Bioplastics Inc. has won $1.6 million in funding from the government-sponsored Western Innovation Initiative...    More

Meredian merging with Danimer Scientific

July 24, 2014 1:59 pm ET

Bioplastics maker Meredian Inc. is merging with its sister firm, Danimer Scientific LLC.    More

Image

US Bioplastics receives funding to bring Gatoresin to the market

July 24, 2014 1:44 pm ET

Materials maker U.S. Bioplastics is hoping its Gatoresin product will take a bite out of the bioplastics market, thanks to funding from a state...    More

Image

BASF posts growth in second quarter

July 24, 2014 11:08 am ET

German chemical giant, BASF SE, has announced a 1 percent growth in sales for the second quarter of 2014 compared to the same period in 20...    More

Market Reports

Injection Molders Market Report & Ranking 2014

This special package contains our 132-page 2014 Market Report on the Injection Molding segment and our exclusive 2014 RANKINGS database of 500+ Injection Molders for a discounted package price.

Learn more

Plastics Recycling Market Review & Outlook 2014

This special report from Plastics News examines the North American plastics recycling industry and provides insight into indicators that impact market viability, including Resin pricing trends for virgin and recycled market material and historical Resin production trends for post- consumer and industrial waste.

Learn more

Shale Gas Market - Analysis of North American Region

This report highlights the impact of shale-based natural gas on the North American plastics market and features an in-depth analysis of production trends in the United States during 2013 and a forecast for 2014 and beyond.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

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

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

More Events