Encoder Technology from maxon motor on Board Curiosity.

The landing of the Mars rover Curiosity took seven exciting minutes. Now it will be looking for signs of life on the Red Planet. maxon encoder technology will pay a part in the successful excursion of the rover. This is the continuation of the success story of maxon products in outer space and on far away planets.

The new Mars rover Curiosity ended its six month long journey to Mars with a successful landing on August 6th 2012. As everything went according to plan, the control center at Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL; California) erupted in cheers. “It was a wonderful landing, everything looked extremely good” said Adam Steltzner, NASA engineer and lead scientist of the JPL landing team, enthusiastically at a press conference. This is the start of a new, exciting excursion on the Red Planet. In contrast to the rovers Opportunity and Spirit, Curiosity can travel further distances on its six wheels and run longer without solar energy as a radionuclide battery gives energy for years. The plan is that the rover shall explore the immense Gale Crater on Mars for signs of life, for two years. And this with impressive equipment on board – a gas chromatograph will hopefully uncover organic compounds; a spectrometer will analyze the composition of rocks which will be collected by the two meter long robot arm and a neutron source will look for hydrogen in the ground.

“From Mars via the International Space Station to the moon“ On its „Mission to Mars“ Curiosity also has maxon products on board. The MR Encoder technology is built in to the electromechanic joints of the rover. The magnetic sensors are mounted on the drive shafts and are responsible for controlling the motors. Apart from that, maxon development services for the drive systems have also played a part in the 900 kilogram rover being able to carry out its Mars Mission successfully. Curiosity’s little brother Opportunity is still on its journey on Mars; for the past 8 years the rover has been exploring Mars with the help of maxon motors. A further success for maxon motor is the SpaceX-Mission to the International Space Station (ISS). Amongst other things, brushless EC motors have been used to move the 2 solar panels which always have to be facing the sun in order to supply the Dragon Capsule with power. More flights to the ISS are already planned; the next in September 2012. In 2015 a further rover will be sent explore Mars for the Exomars Mission. The moon is also in sight – at least for the Chinese Lunar Exploration Program (CLEP) when an exploration rover will be sent to the moon. Numerous research satellites nearer to Earth will also be fitted with maxon drives. The next start of such a satellite its the ESA Sentinel 3 which will fly into space in 2013. Here maxon motors will be used, for example, in a possible emergency to control and secure the fuel valves.

www.maxonmotor.com.au

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About maxon motor Australia

maxon motor is the world’s leading supplier of high-precision drive systems. More than 40 years’ experience, constant innovation, top-quality products and competent customer service make maxon motor a reliable partner in the drive technology sector. We are driven by your specific requirements. The product range incorporated in the modular system is comprehensive: Brushed and Brushless DC motors with the unique ironless maxon winding Flat motors with iron cores Planetary gears, spur gears and special gears Sensors (encoders, DC tachos, resolvers) Servo amplifiers, position controllers and control electronics High-tech CIM and MIM components Customer specific drive solutions. maxon motor is a Swiss company headquartered in Sachseln (Central Switzerland) that employs more than 2000 staff worldwide. With 14 sales companies based in over 30 countries, sales partners in another 10 countries and with six production sites, maxon motor are able to provide locally-based and competent customer service. maxon motor helps provide innovative solutions at competitive prices for numerous applications in various markets, such as Medical technology, Industrial automation and robotics, Aerospace industry, Automotive industry, Communication, Consumer applications, Inspection and Instrumentation and Safety engineering. maxon motor Australia is based in Mt Kuring-Gai NSW and our staff will be happy to help you with all your DC motor and technical enquiries. www.maxonmotor.com.au

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