October 17, 2017

InSight - SEIS instrument integrated and first tests completed

The SEIS seismometer was recently delivered and integrated with the InSight lander in readiness for launch to Mars in May next year.

After delivery of the instrument to Lockheed Martin Space Systems’ clean room facility in Denver, Colorado, mid-July, the SEIS team performed a complete check-up and SEIS was integrated with the InSight lander. A series of five tests in August demonstrated that the instrument—including the six seismic sensors (3 VBBs and 3 SPs)—is interfacing correctly with the lander and flight software. The quality of the vacuum inside the sphere—which has been redesigned since the leak that occurred in 2015—is being regularly monitored and is within specifications.

CNES is concurrently assembling a spare model to be integrated, tested and ready for delivery in December 2017. The agency is also running qualification and calibration tests on the qualification model in Toulouse.

Launch is scheduled from Vandenberg Air Force Base (VAFB), California, on 5 May 2018, and the landing on 26 November after a six-month cruise phase. Commissioning of the lander on the surface of Mars will last three months, from December 2018 to February 2019.

InSight lander with SEIS tilted for tests. Credits: ©NASA/JPL-Caltech/Lockheed Martin