Photo credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona
On Sunday evening, May 25th, at 7:38:44-PM/EDT the Phoenix spacecraft uccessfully landed on Mars and 15 minutes later at 7:53.44-PM/EDT the first radio signals confirming the landing were received at JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory) in California.
Two carbon-fiber, composite cylinders produced by Structural Composites Industries, a Division of Taylor-Wharton International, were on the Phoenix spacecraft. Phoenix will look for the potential for life to thrive by sampling Martian soil for the next 90-days and then will be covered with a layer of frost as the Martian winter season sets in.
The Phoenix mission was launched on August 4th 2007 and SCI's durable model 5129A cylinders traversed the 422 million mile journey through space without incident.
The SCI composite overwrapped cylinders were used to store helium. The helium was channeled through a regulator system to the propellant tanks to maintain constant pressure through the propulsion system to the thrusters. The constant propulsion pressure was one of the key elements of the successful performance of the thrusters during Entry, Descent and Landing (EDL) operations. The Phoenix landing marks the first time since 1976, and only the third time in history, that a soft landing has been carried out on Mars.
TWI's CEO, Bob Gadomski, offered his congratulations to all SCI personnel for a job well done. He also commented that, "TWI employees throughout the world salute SCI's accomplishment and share in the pride that the quality, craftsmanship and ingenuity of Taylor-Wharton International will be forever preserved on another planet in our solar system."
The weather forecast on Mars is for clear and sunny skies. The temperature will vary between minus 112 degrees Fahrenheit in the early morning and minus 22 degrees Fahrenheit in the afternoon.
Follow the Phoenix Mars Mission: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/phoenix/main/index.html and http://phoenix.lpl.arizona.edu/