The Mars Pathfinder (MPF) spacecraft was built and tested at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory during 1995 and 1996. MPF was launched December 4, 1996, and successfully landed on Mars on July 4, 1997. The testing program required that the mission hardware be subjected to both deep space and Mars surface conditions. A series of tests were devised and conducted from January, 1995, to July, 1996, to study the thermal response of the MPF spacecraft to the environmental conditions to which it was to be exposed during the cruise phase (on the way to Mars) and the lander phase (landed on Mars). In addition, several tests were conducted to study the thermal characteristics of the Mars rover. Sojourner, under Mars surface environmental conditions. Several special test fixtures and methods were devised to simulate the required environmental conditions. Creating simulated Mars surface conditions was a challenging undertaking since the Mars surface is subjected to diurnal cycling between -20°C and -85°C, with wind speeds to 20 m/sec, occurring in an 8 torr CO2 atmosphere. This paper describes the MPF test program conducted at JPL to verify the MPF thermal design.
Mars Pathfinder Spacecraft, Lander, and Rover Testing in Simulated Deep Space and Mars Surface Environments
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Kenneth Johnson; Mars Pathfinder Spacecraft, Lander, and Rover Testing in Simulated Deep Space and Mars Surface Environments. Journal of the IEST 1 September 1997; 40 (5): 17–26. doi: https://doi.org/10.17764/jiet.2.40.5.k5256g5348188741
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