Mars Science Laboratory Launched toward Mars

Atlas-MSL
Atlas and Mars Science Laboratory on the Launch Pad
Image Credit: NASA TV

NASA launched the Mars Science Laboratory (Curiosity) toward Mars aboard an Atlas V 541 rocket at 8:02 AM Phoenix time (1502 UTC), one day after originally scheduled.

The solid rocket boosters separated at 2:10 into the flight.

The second stage Centaur rocket separated and began its first burn at 5 minutes into the flight. The MSL spacecraft separated from the Centaur at 44 minutes into the flight and began its cruise toward Mars.

252 days from now, Curiosity is scheduled to land in Gale Crater and begin the search for life on Mars.

Curiosity is an 850 kilogram rover, with eleven (11) major instruments on board, including the Sample Analysis at Mars instrument suite (SAM), which takes up more than half the science payload on board.

Ignition
Atlas and Mars Science Laboratory – Ignition
Image Credit: NASA TV

Ascent
Atlas and Mars Science Laboratory – Ascent
Image Credit: NASA TV

Downrange
Atlas and Mars Science Laboratory – Down Range
Image Credit: NASA TV

Booster Separation
Atlas and Mars Science Laboratory – Booster Separation
Image Credit: NASA TV

Fairing Separation
Atlas and Mars Science Laboratory – Fairing Separation
Image Credit: NASA TV

Centaur Ignition
Centaur and Mars Science Laboratory – Ignition
Image Credit: NASA TV

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2 thoughts on “Mars Science Laboratory Launched toward Mars

  1. Pingback: Curiosity Less than 100 Days from Mars « The National Space Society of Phoenix

  2. Pingback: Curiosity – Mars Science Laboratory Landing Tonight « The National Space Society of Phoenix

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