Aerojet Rocketdyne has been awarded contracts from NASA and the U.S. Energy Department to develop thruster propulsion and electrical power systems for a rover that is slated to launch in 2020.
The contract with NASA calls for the company to produce 16 thrusters that are similar to the ones used to put NASA’s Curiosity rover down on the red planet in 2012, Aerojet Rocketdyne said Friday.
NASA intends to use the 2020 Mars exploration vehicle to collect rock and soil samples and help researchers study the potential uses of the planet’s natural resources.
The next U.S. rover will be built with modern hardware and instruments designed to analyze geologic formations as well as to find evidence of past Martian life.
DOE selected the company to manufacture a power system that would move the Mars exploration vehicle around to conduct planetary assessments.
The company designed and built Curiosity’s multi-mission radioisotope thermoelectric generator in collaboration with DOE and Teledyne Technologies‘ (NYSE: TDY) energy systems business.
According to Aerojet Rocketdyne, the MMRTG technology works to supply heat and electrical power that allows the Curiosity rover to operate day and night.