Mars EDL pioneer elected to National Academy of Engineering

Steltzner-16Adam Steltzner, a JPL engineer who helped pioneer the breakthrough technique for landing a one-ton rover on Mars, is being honored with admission into the National Academy of Engineering.

Steltzner is recognized for development of the Mars Curiosity rover’s entry, descent and landing system and for contributions to control of parachute dynamics. (…)

The academy’s president, C.D. (Dan) Mote Jr., announced the election of Steltzner and 79 other new members and 22 foreign members. This brings the total U.S. membership to 2,275 and the number of foreign members to 232.

Steltzner has worked on multiple NASA flight projects, including Galileo, Cassini, Mars Pathfinder, and the Mars Exploration Rovers (Spirit and Opportunity). The earlier rovers – Pathfinder’s Sojourner, as well as Spirit and Opportunity — landed on Mars with the help of specially designed airbags. When it was time to devise a way for the Mars Science Laboratory mission to land a much larger, more complex rover, Curiosity, on the Red Planet, Steltzner was selected as lead engineer of the mission’s entry, descent and landing system. He helped design, build and test the daring, innovative sky crane landing system that successfully deposited Curiosity on Mars in August 2012. [More at link]

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