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JPL’s MarCO Wins the ‘Oscar’ for Tiny Spacecraft

13 Aug 2019, 19:01 UTC
JPL’s MarCO Wins the ‘Oscar’ for Tiny Spacecraft
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Mars as seen from the MarCO-B satellite. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA/JPL-Caltech PR) — The first briefcase-size CubeSats to journey to another planet have been honored for their role in NASA InSight’s successful Mars landing. The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) bestowed their Small Satellite Mission of the Year award to Mars Cube One, or MarCO, Aug. 8, 2019, at the annual Small Satellite Conference in Logan, Utah.

Designed and built at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena,
California, MarCO consists of two CubeSats nicknamed WALL-E and EVE
after characters in a Pixar film. With the pair flying behind NASA’s
InSight lander as it cruised to the Red
Planet last year for its Nov. 26, 2018, descent to the Martian surface,
and EVE enabled the InSight team to monitor the landing in near-real
time by
relaying signals from the lander back to Earth.

Along the way, WALL-E sent back stunning images of Mars while EVE performed
some simple radio science. All of this was achieved with experimental
technology that cost a fraction of what most space missions do.

“It is a significant honor to be recognized by our
peers at ...

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