I've read that derivatives of the original Thiokol TD-339 model of vernier engine for the Surveyor program was reused in the Viking program, and seen a hint that MSL was using the same heritage design, but I'm not sure if this is correct.

What about the Mars landers Phoenix or InSight?

More info and photos: 1, 2, 3, 4

enter image description here

Photo from here.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I hope you don't mind me adding some links and a photo. Many/most readers of your question won't be so familliar with heritage engines and spacecraft history as you are, so these may help a few to learn more. Feel free to roll back. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Jul 25, 2017 at 6:47
  • $\begingroup$ Aerotech MR-80 seems to have been Viking and its direct descendant Aerojet MR-80B on MSL. Probably no link or direct lineage to TD-339 at all $\endgroup$
    – kert
    Jul 27, 2017 at 7:19

1 Answer 1


No, the propellants have changed from bipropellant to solid or monopropellant.

I can't confirm the exact engines of Surveyor and Viking, and I'll take your word that they were TD-339. Viking used bipropellant.

Pathfinder/Sojourner use solid rocket engines.

MSL(Curiosity) used monopropellant.

MER(Spirit and Opportunity) used monopropellant.

InSight used monopropellant in twelve Aerojet Rocketdyne MR-107N and four Aerojet Rocketdyne MR-106 engines. Neither looks like the TD-339:

(source: spaceflight101.com)

(source: spaceflight101.com)

Phoenix also used monopropellant in Aerojet brand engines. Although I cannot find the model numbers, there are eight 22 N and twelve 300 N engines.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.