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In the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility at the Kennedy Space Center, NASA's Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) aeroshell, containing the compact car-sized rover Curiosity, was mated to its cruise stage on Oct. 11, 2011. The cruise stage provides solar power, thrusters for navigation, and heat exchangers to the rover during its flight from Earth to Mars.
The integrated cruise stage and aeroshell was then mated with the MSL heat shield the same day.
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