May 16, 2011
Mars Mission Components Delivered To Florida
An Air Force C-17 transport plane delivered the heat shield, back shell and cruise stage of the Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft to NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Fla., on May 12, 2011. The heat shield and back shell together form the aeroshell, which will encapsulate the mission's rover and descent stage. The cruise stage will perform critical communication and navigation functions during the flight from Earth to Mars.
The mission will launch in late 2011 and deliver its rover, Curiosity, to the surface of Mars in August 2012. For more information about this week's delivery of flight system components, see http://www.lockheedmartin.com/news/press_releases/2011/0513_ss_msl.html .
A live feed of Curiosity being built and tested in a clean room at JPL, with a chat feature available most days, is online at: http://www.ustream.tv/nasajpl . You can also follow the mission on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/MarsCuriosity and Twitter @MarsCuriosity .
Image Caption: The heat shield for NASA's Mars Science Laboratory is the largest ever built for a planetary mission. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Lockheed Martin