Future Space Missions Could Use CubeSat Buddies

Recently NASA has another successful mission. They managed to land a spacecraft on Mars, which was not a simple task. Luckily, there were able to keep an eye on it thanks to a pair of satellites which were launch back in May 2081. The CubeSats are named EVE and WALL-E, after the beloved main characters from the Pixar film named Wall-E.

The satellites were launched at the same time as the rocket which had the probe destined for Mars. The CubeSats separated before the lander headed towards the Red Planet. It was hard to determine whether the satellites will make it, but everything went according to the plan.

“WALL-E and EVE performed just as we expected them to. They were an excellent test of how CubeSats can serve as ‘tag-alongs’ on future missions, giving engineers up-to-the-minute feedback during a landing,’ said Andy Klesh, the chief engineer for the MarCO mission.

Their mission

The two satellites weigh at about 13.5 kg each and they are the first satellites used to study a planet that is not Earth. The CubeSates use solar panels and radio antennas in order to work. Their role was to send back information about the InSight lander.

It is usually complicated to get ultra-high frequency radio waves to each our planet. The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter is able to pick up these signals, however they can’t always be transmitted to Earth right away. However, during this mission EVE and WALL-E managed to send their data to NASA in just 8 minutes.

The InSight probe reached the Red Planet on Monday and EVE already sent us the first snapshot of the glove. The success of the CubeSats was a clear one and they will definitely be used for future NASA missions as well.

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