Viking Science Test Lander
Photographs of the Viking '75 Mars Lander displayed at the Virginia Air and Space Center, Hampton VA. The assistance of the VASC curatorial staff which allowed me to access the lander from all angles is gratefully appreciated. This particular unit was known as the Science Test Lander (STL) and used at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory during the missions. It is a high-fidelity Viking lander, created by Martin Marietta along with the Flight landers and other test units. The STL has a few mock-up components. The lander body is fairly accurate. High-accuracy components include the surface sampler, cameras, science instrument inlets, fuel tanks and plumbing, meteorology boom, and radio antennas. The STL is unusual in lacking the insulation blankets normally surrounding the fuel tanks and plumbing -- thus exposing these complex components to view. The lander's body is also open on the bottom, affording a view of the interior (which is essentially empty on this lander).
Apr 27, 2012