Prepping MSL's Descent Stage Navigation System for Landing
23 Jul 2012
July 23: Preparations continue for Curiosity's entry, descent and landing and surface operations. Today, the two inertial measurement units (IMUs) in Mars Science Laboratory's descent stage are being configured, along with other guidance and control parameters for entry, descent and landing. The IMUs are electronic devices that will be used to maneuver the spacecraft's descent stage, measuring and reporting on its velocity, orientation and gravitational forces. The descent stage does its main work during the final few minutes before touchdown on Mars, providing rocket-powered deceleration and two bands of telecommunications for the final phase of MSL's arrival at Mars that includes lowering the Curiosity rover on a bridle and continuing descent until rover touchdown. In addition, more communications parameter updates for Curiosity's surface operations are being uploaded to Curiosity's main computers.