Title: Tales from the Mars Science Laboratory Thermal Protection System Development (or, Try Not to Panic When Your Heatshield Material Disappears)
The development of the 2011 Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) heatshield underwent many difficulties and twists, as the entry vehicle was designed to be the largest ever sent to Mars. During testing, the heatshield material melted, flowed, and ultimately disappeared unexpectedly. This failure prompted a wholesale redesign and assembly of the heatshield, all accomplished in a short period of time.
Dr. Hwang, a project manager in the Entry Systems Technology Division, will detail the trials and tribulations of the experience and will also preview the next Mars mission, which uses the same re-designed heatshield material developed for MSL.