MRO Magazine

SKF bearings help in Mars Rover’s operations


Engineering

April 9, 2021
By Maryam Farag


Industries

SKF designed Kaydon’s RealiSlim thin-section ball bearings, enabled the Mars Rover’s core operations in the environment on Mars.

The bearings were manufactured in SKF’s engineering centre in Muskegon, Mich. and its recently expanded manufacturing hub in Sumter, South Carolina.

They contributed to the survival of the rover’s main robotic arm, sample collecting turret, tool bit carousel and sample handling assembly during a months-long trip through space, and its function as intended on the Mars surface.

“The bearings we designed and built to help the rover perform its core science activities were based on several models of Kaydon thin-section ball bearings, customized by our engineers to minimize weight and save space while retaining maximum functionality and reliability for a mission, where repair or replacement is simply not an option,” said Isidoro Mazzitelli, Director of Product Development and Engineering Americas, SKF.

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SKF also supplied critical bearings for the mission’s launch vehicle, which carried the rover and its lander into space.