NASA Perseverance Mars rover is finally on top of the ULA rocket which will take it to the 7-month journey to the Red Planet for the space organization’s 2020 Mars mission. On Tuesday, July 7, a team of engineers fastened the payload fairing, containing the rover and remainder of the spacecraft, the aeroshell backshell, descent stage, and cruise stage, to a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V booster inside the Vertical Integration Facility (VIF) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 41 in Florida.
The rocket’s upper stage and spacecraft will remain attached until about 55 minutes after launch, after which the two will separate, sending Perseverance on its solo journey to Mars.
— NASA's Kennedy Space Center (@NASAKennedy) July 9, 2020
NASA Perseverance Rover ready to leave for Mars 2020
NASA and United Launch Alliance are now targeting Thurs., July 30, at 7:50 a.m. ET, with a two-hour window, for the launch of the Mars 2020 mission. The team identified the cause of the issue with the liquid oxygen sensor line found during Wet Dress Rehearsal (WDR). A small leak was located in the weld of the line, which has been repaired and tested.
The rover, carrying seven different scientific instruments, is slated to arrive at the Red Planet on Feb. 18, 2021, regardless of what day it lifts off during the launch period. During its time on the Red Planet, Perseverance will search for signs of past microbial life and collect rock and soil samples of the Martian surface for a future return to Earth. NASA’s Launch Services Program based at Kennedy Space Center is managing the launch.
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