“Even though we have the experience of building the nearly identical aeroshell for the Curiosity Rover, the almost 15-foot diameter composite structure was just as big a challenge to build and test 10 years later,” said Neil Tice, Mars 2020 aeroshell program manager at Lockheed Martin Space. “We’ve built every Mars aeroshell entry system for NASA of its 40 years of exploring Mars, so we pulled from that experience to build this important system.”

Lockheed Martin recently delivered the Mars 2020 rover aeroshell to the launch site, NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The Mars 2020 rover is in testing at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, and the mission will launch in July 2020 and land on Mars in February 2021 at the Jezero Crater.