See how NASA used Femap to ensure Curiosity could endure the “Seven Minutes of Terror”

In sending a roving science laboratory from Earth to the planet Mars, JPL’s engineers had to overcome many extremely complex problems, plan meticulously, make crucial decisions thousands of times over a multi-year project development, and with the knowledge that you only have one chance to get it right.

Spacecraft Structural Model
Spacecraft Structural Model

From launch, through the space flight, descent to the planet surface where the rover spacecraft had to be slowed from 13,000 miles per hour to a virtual standstill in the “Seven Minutes of Terror”, and eventual landing with the help of the “sky crane”, Femap was critical in performing all types of FEA on all aspects of the vehicle.

MSL Structural Model
MSL Structural Model

You can read the full JPL case study to find out more about how JPL’s engineers used Femap to help simulate the various load cases endured by the spacecraft and payload during the journey to Mars.

Watch the Seven Minutes of Terror video – note the descent vehicle Femap model animation near the start.


Follow Femap on facebook and the Femap group on LInkedin

Want to stay up to date on news from Siemens Digital Industries Software? Click here to choose content that's right for you

Leave a Reply

This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at