Press Release

Sierra Nevada Corporation Plays Vital Role in the Dramatic Successful Landing of Curiosity

By SpaceRef Editor
August 6, 2012
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Sierra Nevada Corporation Plays Vital Role in the Dramatic Successful Landing of Curiosity

Sierra Nevada Corporation’s (SNC) Space Systems has once again successfully aided in a mission to Mars. The precision landing of NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Curiosity rover on Monday, August 6, 2012 marks the 11th time SNC has provided critical hardware for spacecraft orbiting or landing on Mars.

SNC’s descent brake mechanism was designed to control the speed of the tethered descent of the exploratory NASA rover to the surface of Mars prior to a gentle landing. During the “seven minutes of terror” approach and landing to Mars, the world anxiously watched as MSL and all its systems including the descent brake performed exactly as anticipated and assisted in the successful landing using the novel sky-crane system. “We would like to offer our sincere congratulations to NASA, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the whole MSL team for showing us all how the amazing gets done. It has been a program of a lifetime for us to be part of and we are very grateful to have been given the opportunity by NASA to be part of planetary exploration history,” said Mark Sirangelo, head of SNC Space Systems and corporate vice president of SNC.

In addition to safely lowering Curiosity, SNC also provided nine gear box assemblies in the Sample Handling System of Curiosity, controlling critical science instruments such as the drill used to cut samples from rock and the scoop that collects loose rock and soil samples. To date, SNC has successfully operated more than 4,000 mechanisms on more than 400 spacecraft.

About Sierra Nevada Corporation’s Space Systems

Sierra Nevada Corporation’s Space Systems business area, headquartered in Louisville, Colorado, designs and manufactures advanced spacecraft, space vehicles, and spacecraft subsystems for commercial and government customers. Space Systems has more than 20 years heritage in space, successfully delivering over 400 subsystems for 300+ satellite missions. For more information visit:

About Sierra Nevada Corporation

Sierra Nevada Corporation is one of America’s fastest growing private companies. Under the leadership of CEO Fatih Ozmen and Chairman and President Eren Ozmen, SNC employs over 2,100 people in 31 locations in 16 states. SNC’s six unique business areas are dedicated to providing leading-edge technology solutions to SNC’s customers. For more information visit:


Sierra Nevada Corporation’s Space Systems
Sierra Nevada Corporation
Michelle Erlach, 775-331-0222

SpaceRef staff editor.