Spacecraft cruising in space

What is the spacecraft?

The spacecraft is the protective "spaceship" that protects the lander during its travel between Earth and Mars. The spacecraft is separate from the launch vehicle that carries the spacecraft and the lander outside of Earth's atmosphere and gravitational pull. The spacecraft includes the mechanical units that safely maneuver the lander through the Martian atmosphere to a landing on Mars.

Spacecraft

The three major parts that make-up the InSight spacecraft are:

Cruise Stage:
The Cruise Stage encapsulates the lander and its landing system for travel between Earth and Mars. It includes an aeroshell, which consists of a backshell and a heat shield that protects the lander from harsh forces encountered during launch and landing.

Entry, Descent, and Landing System:
The EDL system includes the aeroshell, parachute, and descent vehicle that lower the lander to the Martian surface. The final touchdown is enabled by shock-absorbing legs.

Lander:
InSight’s stationary lander is constructed to deploy sensitive instruments on the surface of Mars from where they can directly sense the planets "vital signs."

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