On January 4, 2004, NASA’s Mars
Exploration Rover (MER) named Spirit, ended its 300 million-mile journey from
Earth with a successful landing on the surface of Mars. ILC Dover, Inc. of
Frederica, Delaware was NASA’s prime contractor for the airbag subsystem and
the Rover drive-off ramps (also a fabric component) that helped make the
landing and Rover egress a success. The concept of a cushioned landing on
Mars using ILC airbags was first successfully demonstrated on the NASA
Pathfinder mission in 1997. The MER configuration of using this fabric ramp
is a change from the Pathfinder ramp. These landings demonstrate the airbag
technology’s ability to accommodate the harsh landing conditions on rough
Martian terrain. This technology also benefits the scientific mission
objectives by allowing more mass for the science instruments through
minimizing the mass used for the critical, but one-time use, landing system.<

“We are excited about the success of the MER program and proud of our
heritage in supporting international space efforts since the Apollo moon
landing. ILC is one of only a handful of companies in the world that can say
its products have performed their intended missions successfully on the
surfaces of the moon and Mars,” said ILC’s president, William J. Wallach.
“ILC Dover is currently applying these same `space age’ technologies to new
applications and industries,” said Wallach.

Through global strategic alliances, ILC also is focusing on “earthly
needs” and is developing innovative personal protective hoods for government,
industry, and consumer markets; systems for the storage and processing of
powders and liquids in the pharma/biopharm industry; and a therapeutic warming
device that helps relieve pain and speed up the recovery of soft-tissue
injuries in conjunction with SeliCor Inc., an Austin, TX-based company.