NASA Settles on Solid-Fueled Design for Mars Ascent Vehicle Written 21 April 2020


Artist's rendition of an ascent vehicle launch, Mars sample return mission. | NASA; Wikimedia Commons; public domain

Spaceflight Now reports that NASA “has settled on a solid-fueled design for a miniature rocket with a first-of-its-kind purpose: Launching a payload from Mars for a trip back to Earth.” The “small launcher is called a Mars Ascent Vehicle, or MAV,” and will be used for the Mars Sample Return mission in 2026. With “two launches from Earth scheduled for 2026, NASA and ESA will send to Mars a stationary landing platform with the MAV, a mobile robot to fetch soil samples collected by NASA’s Perseverance rover, and an Earth Return Orbiter to bring the specimens back home. The U.S.-built Sample Retrieval Lander will target a landing zone near Perseverance and deploy a European fetch rover to pick up the already-sealed sample tubes and deposit them back at the lander.” The “tubes will then be robotically transferred into the payload module on top of the Mars Ascent Vehicle, which will launch the samples into orbit around Mars.”
Full Story (Spaceflight Now)