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NASA’s ‘Made in America’ Rover Reaches Mars

NASA/JPL-Caltech(NEW YORK) -- The safe landing on Mars Monday by Curiosity, NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory rover, was a huge accomplishment for the space program but also for the U.S. companies that contributed to the mission.

Indeed, the entire $2.5 billion mission was “made in America.”

The high-tech parachutes, retro-rockets and even the never-before-used “sky crane” that helped Curiosity come to a stop on Mars -- after an eight-month, 352-million-mile journey -- were all made in the United States.

“It’s only in America, these United States, that we could have pulled this off,” said Adam Steltzner, team leader for the entry, descent and landing of Curiosity.  “There is something uniquely American about what it takes to put a rover like this on Mars.”

U.S. companies in 33 states, from coast to coast, were involved.  They include:

-- Pioneer Aerospace of Windsor, Conn., which made the parachute;
-- Litespeed Bicycles employees in Chattanooga, Tenn., who put down their two-wheelers to help build the rover’s arms;
-- Honey Bee Robotics in New York City, which built the robotic tools that will now help the rover collect rocks and soil.

Even the cameras were from San Diego.

“This really is a human endeavor; it’s not just the U.S.,” said Ann Devereaux, an engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.  “But God bless America because we did put something on Mars.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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