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You are probably thinking of the Mars Exploration Rover Mission (Spirit and Opportunity) landings on Mars. While airbags were deployed to protect both Spirit and Opportunity during landing, descent speed was managed by supersonic parachute and retrorockets.



The Luna 9 probe, which achieved the first-ever soft-landing on the moon, used air bags.

http://www.astronautix.com/craft/lunae6.htm

Use of such is not incompatible with the use of retrorockets.


Thank you for the link regarding Luna 9; I did not know that.

You originally said, "Use of such is not incompatible with the use of retrorockets. As a matter of fact, the latter are used first."

Just to provide clarity, I was referring to the EDL (Entry, Descent, Landing) profile of Spirit and Opportunity. Their EDL profiles first deploy the airbags, then fire the retrorockets.

http://marsrover.nasa.gov/mission/tl_entry1.html

Step 12: Airbags inflate Step 13: Retrorockets fire


Or even the Mars Pathfinder mission.




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