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Airbag Cross Section

Mission: Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunity  
Launch: June 10, 2003 (MER-A)
July 7, 2003 (MER-B)
Landing: January 3, 2004 (MER-A)
January 24, 2004 (MER-B)
Comment: The same cluster of airbags that softened Pathfinder's
landing also cushioned the Mars Exploration Rovers.

This cross section example of NASA's Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit's and Opportunity's airbags reveals the eight layers of Vectran fabric that cushioned the twin robotic explorers' impact and rollout onto the martian surface. The airbags, of which there were four on each rover (with six lobes each), comprised three distinct sub-assemblies: six layers forming the abrasion assembly; a single ply of high strength silcone coated Vectran for the restraint assembly; and an innermost single layer bladder assembly. ILC Dover of Delaware was NASA's prime contractor for the airbags.

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