Author Topic: NASA/ESA - Mars Sample Return mission's Mars Ascent Vehicle (MAV)  (Read 3579 times)

Mars Ascent Vehicle (MAV)
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Overview
The Mars Ascent Vehicle (MAV) is a lightweight rocket that would transport the sample return container, or Orbiting Sample (OS), into orbit as part of NASA and European Space Agency’s (ESA) Mars Sample Return Program. It would be the first rocket ever to launch off the surface of another planet, and would transport the sample tubes containing Martian rock and soil samples into orbit around Mars. The rocket and orbiting sample container would travel to Mars on board the Sample Retrieval Lander, and would remain on board until they’ve been loaded with samples and prepped for launch. Once into orbit, ESA’s Earth Return Orbiter (ERO) would capture and store them in a secure containment capsule for safe delivery to Earth.

Role in Mars Sample Return Campaign
By ensuring the transportation of the container filled with samples of Martian rock and soil into Mars’ orbit, the rocket would play a vital role in returning the most well-documented set of samples ever collected from another planet to Earth.

Quick Facts

This illustration is a cut out concept showing NASA's Mars Ascent Vehicle (MAV) in powered flight.
Project Name                                     Mars Ascent Vehicle
Main Job                                             To transport the samples into Mars orbit
Launch to Mars                                     Planned launch in 2028 (on board NASA's Sample Retrieval Lander)
Mars Arrival                                     2030
Landing Site                                     Near the Perseverance rover's landing site in Jezero Crater
Launch from Mars                               Early 2030s

Tech Specs
Height                           10 feet (3 meters) tall
Mass                            ~450 kilograms
Weight                           ~992 pounds on Earth (~450 kilograms)
                                        ~372 pounds on Mars (~169 kilograms)
Diameter                           1.6 feet (0.5 meters) wide
Speed                           2.5 miles per second (about 4 kilometers per second), the MAV would reach its desired
                                        orbit about 10 minutes after launch
Fuel                                   Two-stage, solid propellant rocket

                                                                       5 Things to Know
1) First Rocket Launch From Another Planet
The Mars Ascent Vehicle would be the first rocket ever launched from the surface of another planet. With the Orbiting Sample container onboard, this milestone proves even more significant, as it brings us one step closer to obtaining the precious samples that the Perseverance rover has spent so much time collecting!

2) Not Your Traditional Rocket Launch
In order to launch the rocket into the air, the lander will throw the MAV several meters above itself. The front would be tossed a bit harder than the back, causing the rocket to point upward, toward the Martian sky. The rocket's solid propellant first stage would then ignite in midair and the rocket would take off!

3) What's Better Than One Burn? Two!
This rocket would employ a two-stage burn to reach Mars orbit — the first stage is thrust vector controlled with a nominal burn time of about 75 seconds. The MAV would then coast and separate from the first stage (dropping with it all active control). The second stage is spin stabilized with a nominal burn time of about 20 seconds and is used to inject into Mars orbit, where it would then deploy the Orbiting Sample container. Both the second stage of the MAV and the OS would remain in Mars orbit. The first stage would crash back to Mars.

4) A Straight Shot Into Space
The rocket's second stage burn would use a method called spin stabilization to keep the rocket straight on its journey — the physics are similar to the act of throwing a football in a spiral motion to keep it flying straight. It allows the rocket to be lighter, so it wouldn't have to carry active control all the way to orbit. However, it means it must be carefully balanced. Experiment: securely tape a weight (like a rock) to one side of a football and try to throw it. How does it fly?

5) An Igloo Fit For A Rocket
Until it's time for the Perseverance rover to transfer the Orbiting Sample container to the rocket, the MAV would be contained in a protective temperature-controlled enclosure inside the lander, like an igloo. This igloo is intended to keep the MAV's equipment protected and warm in the harsh Martian conditions. Even though the mission is timed to take place during the Red Planet’s springtime, temperatures will likely dip below minus 90 degrees F (about minus 68 degrees C) each night.

More at: https://mars.nasa.gov/msr/spacecraft/mars-ascent-vehicle/
« Last Edit: 01/06/2023 07:54 am by Chinakpradhan »

i had been looking for STAR-20 engine (MAV 1st stage engine) and found it as altair iii on scout b as fourth stage and uprated version on delta e and delta l but for STAR-15G (MAV 2nd stage engine) usage i couldnt find a single suborbital launcher even. can someone help??? the pdf says star 20 has 3 flights and star 15g has 10 flights
Other sources: http://astronautix.com/s/star15.html, http://astronautix.com/a/altair3d.html, http://astronautix.com/a/altair3.html and http://astronautix.com/a/altair3b.html, http://astronautix.com/s/star20spherical.html
« Last Edit: 01/07/2023 04:16 am by Chinakpradhan »

Offline russianhalo117

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i had been looking for STAR-20 engine (MAV 1st stage engine) and found it as altair iii on scout b as fourth stage but for STAR-15G (MAV 2nd stage engine) usage i couldnt find a single suborbital launcher even. can someone help??? the pdf says star 20 has 3 flights and star 15g has 10 flights
Other sources: http://astronautix.com/s/star15.html, http://astronautix.com/a/altair3d.html, http://astronautix.com/a/altair3.html and http://astronautix.com/a/altair3b.html
That is because it has to date only been used by payloads or aircraft or is undisclosed because flights took place via a military product rather than the commercial/civil product (i.e. Large Class Stage I (LCS) is civil Castor-120XL and LCS-III is Castor-30XL where LCS programme was a development initiative in advance of the GBSD).

As an optional motor STAR-15G is typically located in the payload section of a sounding rocket to provide supersonic retro propulsion on select flights during the science phase. See more updated catalog. Scroll to Page 80 out of 144 for TE-M-1030-1 model specs of Star-15G.


The SRP motor was selected in 2011 for proof of concept test flights on NASA WFF Terrier MK12 – Improved Orion and Terrier MK12 – Black Brant launchers. The currently available and other proposed SRP motors See document two
« Last Edit: 01/07/2023 05:10 am by russianhalo117 »

i had been looking for STAR-20 engine (MAV 1st stage engine) and found it as altair iii on scout b as fourth stage but for STAR-15G (MAV 2nd stage engine) usage i couldnt find a single suborbital launcher even. can someone help??? the pdf says star 20 has 3 flights and star 15g has 10 flights
Other sources: http://astronautix.com/s/star15.html, http://astronautix.com/a/altair3d.html, http://astronautix.com/a/altair3.html and http://astronautix.com/a/altair3b.html
That is because it has to date only been used by payloads or aircraft or is undisclosed because flights took place via a military product rather than the commercial/civil product (i.e. Large Class Stage I (LCS) is civil Castor-120XL and LCS-III is Castor-30XL where LCS programme was a development initiative in advance of the GBSD).

As an optional motor STAR-15G is typically located in the payload section of a sounding rocket to provide supersonic retro propulsion on select flights during the science phase. See more updated catalog. Scroll to Page 80 out of 144 for TE-M-1030-1 model specs of Star-15G.


The SRP motor was selected in 2011 for proof of concept test flights on NASA WFF Terrier MK12 – Improved Orion and Terrier MK12 – Black Brant launchers. The currently available and other proposed SRP motors See document two
just in curiosity do we know the monopropellant of star 15G?? Is it CTPB the one used on Star 20 and it's modified versions??

Offline russianhalo117

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i had been looking for STAR-20 engine (MAV 1st stage engine) and found it as altair iii on scout b as fourth stage but for STAR-15G (MAV 2nd stage engine) usage i couldnt find a single suborbital launcher even. can someone help??? the pdf says star 20 has 3 flights and star 15g has 10 flights
Other sources: http://astronautix.com/s/star15.html, http://astronautix.com/a/altair3d.html, http://astronautix.com/a/altair3.html and http://astronautix.com/a/altair3b.html
That is because it has to date only been used by payloads or aircraft or is undisclosed because flights took place via a military product rather than the commercial/civil product (i.e. Large Class Stage I (LCS) is civil Castor-120XL and LCS-III is Castor-30XL where LCS programme was a development initiative in advance of the GBSD).

As an optional motor STAR-15G is typically located in the payload section of a sounding rocket to provide supersonic retro propulsion on select flights during the science phase. See more updated catalog. Scroll to Page 80 out of 144 for TE-M-1030-1 model specs of Star-15G.


The SRP motor was selected in 2011 for proof of concept test flights on NASA WFF Terrier MK12 – Improved Orion and Terrier MK12 – Black Brant launchers. The currently available and other proposed SRP motors See document two
just in curiosity do we know the monopropellant of star 15G?? Is it CTPB the one used on Star 20 and it's modified versions??
Star-15G model version TE-M-1030-1 has propellant formulation code TP-H-3340 which is an HTPB type formulation. Alternate propellant formulation code TP-H-1202 had been used in place of TP-H-3340 for other motors.
https://www.alternatewars.com/BBOW/Space/Propellants.htm
TP-H-3340 and family Propellant Patent for use in Long-Range Strategic Missile System motors and related rockets:
https://patents.google.com/patent/US5798480A/en

Star-20 model version TE-M-640-1 has propellant formulation code TP-H-3062 which is an CTPB type formulation.
For Star-20 and CTPB Mars flight heritage see:
https://ntrs.nasa.gov/citations/20160008023

Thanks so it's CTPB 1st then htpb 2nd

Offline ccdengr

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just in curiosity do we know the monopropellant of star 15G?? Is it CTPB the one used on Star 20 and it's modified versions??
To be pedantic, no solid propellant is a "monopropellant", and CTPB and HTPB are just binders -- the main ingredient usually being ammonium perchlorate.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rocket_propellant#Solid_chemical_propellants

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