In recent months scientists have been working on Mars 2020 spacecraft which is planned to start in the direction of the red planet. Vehicle stacking is a process in which the parts of the aircraft are fitted neatly as it will look at the time of launching. This process needs extreme planning for assembling the parts.
David Gruel, manager of assembling,testing,and launching operations at JPL for Mars 2020 reported that their main job is to positively make the rover and other hardware components which are required for the rover to successfully reach the surface of Mars from Earth. It is to be fitted inside the payload fairing of Atlas V rocket. At first the rocket-powered at falling stage should be placed at the top of the substitute rovers. After attaching everything and when all the holes are lined up and they are verified and cross-checked again then via gantry crane the backshell is dropped over them. The cranes are used for lifting nearly each and every spacecraft that has been developed in JPL from the time of Mariner till now.
The next step after checking if the installation is done properly or not and if the backshell is in its proper place the group position’s the parachute nose cone. This acts as a shield while entering the atmosphere which leads to the entry of a huge doughnut-shaped cruise stage. It will provide power to the spacecraft during its seventh month to the journey of Red Planet.
Stacking plays a vital role in the mission even though their computerized models are capable enough, they need to join everything and see if it fits. He also adds that he feels great when he sees all the arrangements assembled and paused to be worked on further and this will head towards a launch pad in July coming year at Cape Canaveral. Stacking was completed on 3rd April and the spacecraft was sent to face acoustic testing where it will be bombed with a sound wave and then will be checked if and damages caused or loosening of nuts and bolts. After checking the stack is forwarded towards the vacuum chamber for one week to see if it can handle the harsh environments and the functions work accordingly or not.
Gruel says that everything keeps changing in this mission and says after the acoustic and vacuum tests the spacecraft is de-stacked and more testing and work is done, all these testing and work will keep continuing until the aircraft reaches its destination.