AE alumni await Mars InSight landing
A seven-month flight to Mars will end today with what aerospace engineers call “seven minutes of terror.” NASA’s InSight lander must slow itself from traveling at 12,300 mph to just 5 mph in seven minutes to land safely. Two University of Illinois, Department of Aerospace Engineering alumni have a personal stake in its success.
Sklyanskiy began working at JPL in 2004. He is an Entry Descent and Landing Trajectory and Landing Safety Analyst. “One of the biggest challenges on this mission was addressing the landing safety mission constraints in preparation for the final Trajectory Correction Maneuver (TCM-6) which occurs at Entry –22 hours,” he said.
Wallace started at JPL as a co-op student in 2000 and on staff since 2005. He works on mission design and navigation and has been working on the Mars InSight for seven years. “The greatest challenge, but also the most fun was working out the launch targets to enable trajectory within the propellant budget, to enable the Entry Descent Landing communication, and satisfy planetary protection requirements,” he said.
The Mars InSight, which stands for Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport, launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on May 5.
Watch the landing at https://mars.nasa.gov/insight/timeline/landing/watch-online/.