NASA’s latest mission to Mars, InSight, is scheduled for launch Saturday, May 5th. The second stage of the Atlas V launch vehicle is steered by electromechanical actuators designed and built by the Moog Space and Defense Group right here in East Aurora. This continues a long history of Western New York support of NASA’s Mars missions dating back to the very first one, Mariner 4, launched on November 28th, 1964. Mariner 4, which took the first images of another planet ever taken from deep space, was propelled from earth orbit to Mars by an Agena rocket engine built by Bell Aerospace in Niagara Falls (now also part of Moog). You can see an actual Agena rocket engine, the most storied upper stage rocket engine in history, at the Niagara Aerospace Museum.
InSight info from NASA:
Mariner 4 info from NASA JPL: