One Smalley Step for Man…
TFC took a giant leap for spring kind today with the announcement that one of its Smalley springs has been used in the latest Phoenix Mars Lander mission. The 10 month journey from Earth is designed to investigate the regions climate and geology.
TFC’s Smalley springs have been used within the protective backshell of the craft. The springs were chosen due to their ability to function in harsh environments and their ability to endure the rigors of the terrain.
While many TFC products have been used in a variety of difficult environments under testing conditions this is the first time that they have been used on a mission in space.
The 420 million mile mission launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, US, on a Delta II rocket will determine whether icy ground near the planet’s North Pole could ever have supported life. This is the first mission to the planets Polar Regions. This is the first successful powered-descent landing in over 30 years since the Viking 1 and 2 landings in 1975 and 1976.
NASA’s Phoenix Lander craft was designed and built by Lockheed Martin Space Systems using the latest technology, finest and most endurable components that would see the landing craft separate from the 250 ton Delta II rocket to land on the surface of Mars.
The Smalley springs have a proven track record in harsh environments performing consistently well in the aeronautical and oil industries along with a host of other industry applications. The unique design and manufacture of the spring provides a much reduced footprint against traditional coil springs offering a lighter and higher performing product.
TFC’s Technical Director, Brian Goode commented “TFC’s Smalley Wave Springs are designed for use in the harshest of climates, on Earth or in space. In this application, a Smalley Crest-to-Crest® wave spring is being used on the Mars Lander. Not only do wave springs reduce spring height by up to 50%, they allow for a smaller, lighter assembly. Often vital components such as changing from traditional springs to Smalley’s can result in substantial gains such a increased operating ratios, improved fuel consumption and being able to operate more efficiently in demanding situations.”