NASA Curiosity Sky Crane MSLYour model is disabled. For more details go to Edit properties3D Model
A different landing system was chosen for MSL compared to previous Mars landers and rovers due to the fact that Curiosity was considered too heavy to use the airbag landing system used on the Pathfinder and Exploration missions. Faced with this and other challenges, the MSL engineers came up with a novel alternative solution to land the rover: the sky crane.
The sky crane lowered the rover from the sky on a tether as it slowed to a halt 25 feet above the surface of Mars. After successful touchdown the rover severed itself from the tether and the sky crane flew away to crash land 2,100ft away. This concept had never been used in missions before.
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