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Some pyrotechnics will be as small as the energy released by a box of matches. One packs the same oomph as a stick of TNT. Whether they be large or small, on the evening of August 5th (Pacific time), all 76 must work on cue as NASA's next Mars rover, Curiosity, carried by the Mars Science Laboratory, streaks through the Red Planet's atmosphere on its way to a landing at Gale Crater.
Seventeen minutes before landing, the first 10 of 76 pyros will fire within five milliseconds of each other, releasing the cruise stage that provided the entry capsule (and its cocooned descent vehicle and the Curiosity rover) with power, communications and thermal control support during its 254-day journey to Mars.
"We have essentially three miniature guillotines onboard that, when the pyros fire, cut cabling and metal tubing that run between the cruise stage and the entry capsule," said Luke Dubord, avionics engineer for Mars Science Laboratory at JPL. "Then a retraction pyro pulls them out of the way. Along with that, we've got six pyrotechnic separation nuts, which when fired, will actually accomplish the separation."
"The Mars Science Lab parachute is the largest used on a planetary mission," said Dubord. "When folded up and in its canister, it's still as big as a trashcan. We have to get that folded-up chute out of its canister and unfolding in a hurry. The best way to do that is get it quickly away from spacecraft and out into the freestream using a mortar."
The best way to do that, the engineers at JPL decided, was to include a pyrotechnic charge equivalent to a stick of TNT.
Originally posted by theduke269
For the life of me I can't get the link to work.
Just loads half and starts over and over.edit on 7/4/2012 by theduke269 because: spelling.