FUTEK Insider / August 2012
Mars Rover
The entire FUTEK Team celebrates this victory!
On August 6, 2012, history was made and dreams were achieved as NASA JPL’s MSL Mars Rover Curiosity set down upon the Martian soil. This touchdown not only marked a rebirth for the NASA program, but an enormous accomplishment for all partners involved with this mission. Landing Curiosity was by no means an easy feat. But more importantly, it was not an individual effort. Alongside the brilliant minds of NASA JPL and NASA MSL were dozens of partners, commissioned, qualified and relied on for the success of this mission. And FUTEK was one of those partners.
Perhaps FUTEK’s CEO, Javad Mokhbery, best described this honor when saying, “A composer inspires and masterfully scripts a symphony. A conductor passionately assembles the perfect orchestra. But the success of a memorable performance heavily depends on reliable and well-crafted instruments, developed and supported by esteemed silent partners. With the successful and impressive landing of Mars Science Laboratory’s Curiosity, FUTEK is beyond proud and overwhelmingly honored to be a continuous silent partner of NASA, providing sensor solutions with faith, fire and focus.”
FUTEK has had the privilege of working with NASA on several occasions, participating in programs such as Orion and the International Space Station iLIDS. However, nothing quite compared to working on Curiosity. The reality that FUTEK would have two operating sensors on a neighboring planet seemed, well, out-ofthis- world. But that reality came true.
Many of FUTEK’s team members have admired
NASA and their efforts in exploring the unknown. Some have even dreamt of working alongside them. But the awe associated with working on a rover equipped for Mars went beyond their wildest dreams. Thus, when FUTEK was commissioned by NASA JPL a little over three years ago to develop two space/flight qualified cryogenic sensors for the rover, the team was ecstatic.
Responsible for monitoring the force of the drill bit that will penetrate the Martian soil, as well as monitoring the maneuvers of the rover’s drilling arm itself, FUTEK’s team of engineers, operators, quality assurance personnel, and technicians worked diligently to provide NASA JPL with the most reliable test and measurement feedback system.
Summed up perfectly by Program Manager John Vargas is the spirit that drove FUTEK throughout their design and development of these two sensors: “How great is my job? We get to help give NASA a sense of what is going on, on Mars!”
And though this project took close to three years, this spirit within FUTEK did not falter. Director of Engineering, Richard Walker said this of FUTEK’s participation in the rover’s success: “It is still surreal to believe that our countless hours of manufacturing, testing and inspections of the sensors are really on Mars and will be providing critical feedback in this mission. These emotions of pride and excitement are not far behind getting married and having children.”
Product News
Rotary Torque Sensor System
Instruments Illustrated

Load Cells
   Load Cells
Torque Sensors
Torque Sensors
Pressure Sensors
Intelligent Panel Meter - IPM650
FUTEK’s Electrical Engineering Team has been working diligently to develop new digital displays for test and measurement applications. Their latest release is our IPM650: Intelligent Panel Meter.
The goal for the IPM650 design was versatility. Thus, the IPM650 can easily be integrated with FUTEK’s Load Cells, Torque Sensors, and Pressure Sensors. It holds an indisputable accuracy of 0.001%, as well as an internal resolution of 24 Bits. Capable of gathering up to 4,800 samples per second, this display is a fast and precise processor. And it’s coupled with three different input and output options. To learn more about the IPM650, click the link below.
Feature Application
Cryogenic Sensors aboard Curiosity
Cryogenic Sensors aboard Curiosity
Products In Use
NASA JPL space/flight qualified cryogenic dualbridge donut load cell and a space/flight qualified cryogenic 3-component multi-axial sensor.
Application Summary
FUTEK developed two cryogenic sensors to operate aboard the rover. The donut load cell directly operates within Curiosity’s drilling arm. It stands responsible to monitor the drill bit’s force as it pierces into the Martian ground. The multi-axial load and torque sensor is responsible for the maneuvers of the robotic arm.
Both of these sensor were specifically design for the Mars Rover Curiosity mission. If you have an application in need of a custom sensor, please feel free to contact us.
Feature Video
Relive Curiosity’s Touchdown!
Relive Curiosity’s Touchdown!
For many Americans and space enthusiasts, August 6th was a much anticipated date: a time to witness Curiosity touchdown upon Martian soil.
The same was true for the FUTEK Team. Most of us lied awake glued to either a television and computer screen watching history take place. But perhaps the greatest aspect of the entire endeavor was the profound joy the NASA JPL team displayed when Curiosity confirmed its touchdown. Thus, we ask you to relive this moment. Because, let’s face it, its not everyday that America lands on Mars.
This Month's Highlight
Mars Rover Curiosity
FUTEK made headlines within the Orange County Register due in part on our participation with the Mars Rover Curiosity mission. We would like to thank Pat Brennan, editor of the O.C. Register’s Science section, for covering this accomplishment.