Maker of Turkish jet wins contracts for NASA’s Mars 2020 rover
Burak BekdilThe space unit of U.S.-based Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) has won multiple contracts by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory to build critical hardware for NASA’s Mars 2020 rover.
SNC, owned by billionaire Turkish businessman Fatih Ozmen, has been holding contract negotiations with the Turkish government to build Turkey’s indigenous regional jet with dual military and civilian use.
The latest NASA contracts marked the 13th time SNC will be supplying hardware for a mission to Mars.
SNC’s Space Systems division will design and manufacture the descent brake and actuators for the robotic arm and sample caching system. Earlier, SNC built the braking system for NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity in 2012.
“SNC has been supporting NASA’s Mars Exploration Programs and missions since 1992, though the delivery of highly reliable and complex systems,” said Mark Sirangelo, vice president of SNC’s Space Systems division, in a press release. “We are proud of our long and successful history of delivering mission-critical hardware for some of the most challenging interplanetary missions.”
In addition to NASA, China, the European Space Agency and the United Arab Emirates are all developing spacecraft to land on or orbit Mars in 2020.
The indigenous Turkish jet will come in two bodies: TRJ328 and TRJ628, based on the Dornier 328 and Dornier 628 models.
The Turkish military is planning to use the TRJ328 for personnel transport and intelligence and the TRJ628 for cargo transport purposes.
The indigenous Turkish jet will come in four variants: A TRJ-328 jet and TR-328 turboprop, each with 32 seats, and a TRJ-628 jet and TR-628 turboprop, each with 60 to 70 seats. The TRJ328 and the TRJ628 will be based on the Dornier 328 and Dornier 628, respectively.
To proceed with the program Turkey purchased the intellectual property rights for the Dornier jets. It also said it would place an initial order for a batch of 50 TRJ platforms.
SNC plans to deliver the first TRJ328 in 2019.