Volume 7, Number 1, 1997

Mars Pathfinder cocooned inside airbags designed by UD alumni

On July 4, NASA's Mars Pathfinder ended its 309-million-mile journey from Earth by landing on the rocky surface of Mars. The success of that landing was made possible in part by an engineering team from ILC Dover that includes four UD alumni.

Unlike the typical landing employing a "retrorocket"--a rocket that produces thrust in the opposite direction for deceleration--the Pathfinder landing was cushioned by an airbag subsystem. Core members of the team credited with designing the four, six-lobe airbags are Bob Munion, EG '86, Chuck Sandy, EG '78, Jim Stein, EG '91, and Brad Walters, EG '83, shown here with other UD alums who work at ILC.

Best known for producing space suits for the Apollo and subsequent missions, ILC Dover is a division of ILC Industries Inc. of Bohemia, NY. President Homer Reihm is both an alumnus, EG '60, and a member of the University's Board of Trustees.

-Diane S. Kukich, AS '73, '84M