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Futek's sensors are now on MarsSpace exploration has been a part of international culture for the past six decades. From orbits, to satellites, to walking on the Moon, to now successfully landing on Mars, audiences around the world have waited in awe to see what the next accomplishment will be beyond Earth's walls. And FUTEK Advanced Sensor Technology, Inc. has had the privilege to work on many of these acclaimed missions.
As an ISO9001-2008 accredited, AS9100 compliant, ANSI-Z540 certified, and ISO 17025 A2LA approved design and manufacturing house, FUTEK possesses the capabilities needed to develop load cells, torque sensors, and multi-axial sensors for cryogenic and vacuum environments. Within the past years, NASA, Raytheon, MIT, Lockheed Martin and JPL have brought FUTEK onboard for several ventures that are truly "out-of-this-world." From the International Space Station to Mars, FUTEK has developed new technologies to withstand the unexpected environments space presents.
Though FUTEK has been in operation for 24 years, their story with NASA and space exploration began decades beforehand. Dreams and aspirations to work alongside NASA and their rocketeers flooded the minds of many of FUTEK's esteemed engineers. To one day be able to say that they were an integral part in the success of a mission was the ultimate ambition. Well, that ambition is now a continuous reality. Remarkable dreams came true for all FUTEK engineers, technicians and office personnel as Curiosity landed upon the Martian surface.
In fact, FUTEK's CEO, Javad Mokhbery, shared his message with a meaningful comparison: "A composer inspires and masterfully scripts a symphony. A conductor passionately assembles the perfect orchestra. But the success of a memorable performance heavily depends on reliable and well-crafted instruments, developed and supported by esteemed silent partners. With the successful and impressive landing of Mars Science Laboratory's Curiosity, FUTEK is beyond proud and overwhelmingly honored to be a continuous silent partner of NASA, providing sensor solutions with Faith, Fire and Focus."
FUTEK has been most notably recognized for their involvement in the NASA/JPL Martian Rover: Curiosity. Launched on November 26, 2011, the rover set out on a mission to explore the Martian terrain. With the successful landing on August 6, 2012, Curiosity is off to maneuver the surfaces of Mars, analyzing samples of foreign soil in the hopes of detecting whether life on another planet exists.
FUTEK developed two unique sensors for the rover. Aboard Curiosity sits one cryogenic multi-axial load and torsion sensor responsible for monitoring the rover's drilling arm and its robotic manoeuvres as it retrieves sediments for analysis. Additionally, a secondary FUTEK cryogenic load cell sits aboard to supervise the precision and force used to drill directly into the Martian surface. Both sensors are designed to operate around the clock within temperature cycles reaching 23°F to as low as -124°F.
FUTEK's engineering team is ecstatic with the accomplishments thus far in the mission. Sensor Technical Director, Richard Walker said this of his team's achievement: "I was overcome with emotion and a sense of great responsibility when Curiosity made such a smooth landing. My hat's off to all of the NASA/JPL teams that made this happen. FUTEK strives to build the highest quality aerospace grade sensors, and the two sensors that we developed and instrumented on the robotic arm and drill head assembly will show their robustness in the near future. I am extremely proud of our FUTEK engineers and technicians that took such great pride and dedication during the design and manufacturing of these critical components.
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