Hampshire tech firm land on Mars
South East defence technology specialists QinetiQ are set to touch down on Mars on Monday.
The firm’s Transceiver technology is currently in orbit around Mars on the European Space Agency’s Mars Express, which is set to monitor NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) as it lands on the planet.
QinetiQ’s technology allows recorded transmissions from the laboratory to be sent back to scientists on Earth, who can analyse the performance of the system as it approaches the Martian surface.
The Mars Express Lander Communications system (MELACOM) will support the mission on Mars too, sending commands to the rover vehicle and relaying science data and pictures back to Earth.
Sanjay Razdan, Managing Director New Technologies at QinetiQ said “This is a landmark achievement for the QinetiQ Space Team, and sets a solid base for future innovations. We are also currently developing the next generation of the UHF transceiver, which will be used as the communications system on the Mars landers for ESA’s upcoming ExoMars missions.”
“This is not the first time that QinetiQ’s transceiver has been used to support a NASA Martian mission. In 2008 the transceiver was used to monitor the entry, descent and landing of the Phoenix Lander, and has acted as one of the relays for NASA’s Opportunity Rover, which is still active on the surface of Mars.”