Back in August 2011 whilst the MSL Spacecraft was being assembled at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center we were invited to visit the cleanroom to see the Curiosity Rover.
Unusually the MSL payload was being assembled inside the perimeter of the KSC property. This was because the Curiosity Rover has an atomic power supply, requiring security over and above the norm for a spacecraft.
The MSL spacecraft consists of a number of functional modules: The Cruise Stage, The Aeroshell (or Back Shell), The Heat Shield, The descent stage (known as the Sky Crane) and finally the Curiosity Rover.
We were able to see most of these modules as they were being prepared to be integrated into the spacecraft prior to being encased in the payload fairing for mating with the Atlas V booster.
Pictures from our cleanroom visit follow: