South Windsor Company Designed NASA InSight Lander's Parachute

NASA's InSight lander safely touched down on Mars Monday with the help of a South Windsor company.

Pioneer Aerospace designed and manufactured the parachute that slowed the spacecraft as it entered the Martian atmosphere, according to a release from the company.

The lander completed its six-month, 300 million-mile journey with a dangerous six-minute descent to the red planet.

The spacecraft was traveling at Mach 1.66, a supersonic speed, as it entered Mars's atmosphere just before 3 p.m. on Monday when the parachute was deployed. The parachute slowed the InSight lander to just 218 kilometers per hour while still 1 kilometer above the Martian surface, and allowed it to land with an assist from retrorockets on the vehicle, according to the company.

The NASA spacecraft is the first to land on the red planet in six years. It is designed to burrow beneath the surface to study the planet's crust, mantle, and core.

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