Biggest-Ever Heat Shield Prepared for Mars Spacecraft

Preparing Mars Science Laboratory Heat Shield

An Air Force C-17 transport plane delivered the heat shield, back shell and cruise stage of the Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft to NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Fla., on May 12, 2011. The heat shield and back shell together form the aeroshell, which will encapsulate the mission's rover and descent stage. The cruise stage will perform critical communication and navigation functions during the flight from Earth to Mars.

The mission will launch in late 2011 and deliver its rover, Curiosity, to the surface of Mars in August 2012. For more information about this week's delivery of flight system components, see .

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, Calif., manages the Mars Science Laboratory Project for the NASA Science Mission Directorate, Washington. More information about the Mars Science Laboratory is available online at .

A live feed of Curiosity being built and tested in a clean room at JPL, with a chat feature available most days, is online at: . You can also follow the mission on Facebook at and Twitter @MarsCuriosity .

News Media Contact

Guy Webster 818-354-6278
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.