NASA’s latest Mars Rover, Curiosity, successfully blasted off to the red planet November 26 carrying two key components developed by Connecticut companies.

Pioneer Aerospace in South Windsor designed and constructed a parachute system for the rover that will decelerate part of its descent through the Martian atmosphere when it arrives in August.  The parachute will deploy at an extremely high rate of speed (Mach 2.2) when it enters the atmosphere, and according to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, will deliver 65,000 pounds of drag force.

NASA says it is the single largest parachute ever used on a mission to another planet.

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