NASA has the launch window till August 15, 2020, in order to launch the Mars Perseverance rover. However, the launch window only keeps getting delayed due to various reasons. The last date for the finalized launch was July 22. However following a few operational failures and issues the launch will not happen until July 30, 2020.
The upcoming Mars mission is now slated to launch on top of the United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V rocket July 30 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Launch Complex 41. Originally scheduled to launch July 17, the mission pushed to July 20 to allow ULA teams to make repairs to ground system equipment.
Due to processing delays in preparations to unite me with the rocket, my first launch attempt will be no earlier than July 30. @NASA and @ulalaunch are working to update the target launch date and have been able to expand the launch period until Aug. 15. https://t.co/cwfwy5cTY0 pic.twitter.com/XICMjwtx7h
— NASA's Perseverance Mars Rover (@NASAPersevere) June 30, 2020
NASA delays Mars Perseverance launch further
On June 30, 2020, NASA announced the launch was again delayed due to an issue during the Wet Dress Rehearsal, which is a test to verify the rocket is ready for flight. In order to launch to Mars, Earth and Mars must be on the same side of the sun, which only happens every 26 months. That means if teams are unable to launch during this specific time window, the spacecraft will be forced to go into storage for two years until the next possible opportunity.
This is very problematic because it will cost the space agency roughly half a million dollars to store Mars Perseverance, which is why this launch was considered an essential mission when the coronavirus pandemic first struck. Unlike the historic “Launch America” event people do not need to stay at home to see this launch. Hopefully, the pandemic will start subsiding by the time July 30 arrives.
NASA’s Mars missions have always drawn crowds. For its last rover mission, named Curiosity, which launched in 2011, over 13,000 people were at Kennedy Space Center to view the launch and thousands more watched along the banks of the Indian River in Titusville. The space agency is sending this Mars helicopter to find alien life in the Red Planet.
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Suryapratim Ray is an engineer, author, robotics hobbyist, and an active Quoran. Being a technical blogger, he covers the good, bad, and ugly of science on a regular basis at Sciencenews18. In addition to his passion for writing, he’s equally keen on learning classical music.