Northrop Grumman confirmed this week that it has been chosen to deliver solid propulsion systems to support the upcoming NASA Mars Ascent Vehicle (MAV).
Northrop’s announcement comes following a series of successful trials on Mars by the space community, including the first test drive of the Perseverance rover in early March.
The Mars Ascent Vehicle (MAV) is expected to begin its initial flight in 2026.
Throughout the mission, the MAV will be accompanied by a “fetch” rover who will gather research samples on Mars and harbour them in the MAV. Following this, the MAV will re-enter Mars’ orbit and marry with the Earth Return Orbiter with the newly collected research samples.
Northrop announced that it will be using its STAR high performance rocket motors to achieve mission success.
Vice president missile products at Northrop Grumman, Rebecca Torzone, welcomed the tender.
“We are committed to help build the rockets that will orbit the samples Perseverance collects so they can be returned to Earth,” Torzone outlined.
“We play a vital role with NASA, as we have for decades, by providing key propulsion and control subsystems in support of human spaceflight and robotic exploration missions.”
[Related: Perseverance completes first test drive]
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