MMRTGMulti Mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator
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Aerojet Rocketdyne was awarded a DOE contract in 2003 to develop and produce MMRTGs. In addition to the MMRTG for the Curiosity rover, the DOE authorized assembly of two additional flight units: one for Mars 2020 and one for a future mission.
After being fueled and tested at INL, the Mars 2020 MMRTG will be delivered to NASAs Kennedy Space Center in Florida for integration with the rover.
The MMRTG is just one of Aerojet Rocketdynes contributions to Mars 2020, key elements of which are now coming together at NASAs Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
The next NASA mission planning to use an MMRTG is the Mars 2020 rover, due to be launched as part of NASA's Journey to Mars, to seek signs of past life on the Red Planet, test technology for human exploration, and gather samples of rocks and soil that could be returned to Earth in the future.
Hamilton Sundstrand Rocketdyne said on Monday that it helped design and develop the Multi-Mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (MMRTG) that powered the 'Curiosity' Rover on its Mars mission.
Upon successful landing of the rover, the company's MMRTG began to power the Mars surface operations and is reportedly operating as expected.
The MMRTG, which has a design life of 14 years, has been built to operate in a range of harsh environments.
The company said that the MMRTG is designed to operate in a range of different mission environments, from the vacuum of deep space to extreme planetary surface environments.