Following an eight-day delay NASA is set to launch the Perseverance rover at 7:50 AM ET today. The lander, orbiter and rover will launch aboard United Launch Alliance’s highly reliable Atlas V rocket to kick off what should be a very exciting mission. The original launch, scheduled for July 22nd, had to be scrubbed due to a balky liquid oxygen sensor.
The relatively complicated mission will use a rover, lander and orbiter to examine the geological history of Mars. The 10-foot long Perseverance rover is the heaviest NASA has built, which will collect samples to be eventually returned to Earth. It will also be the first to pack a helicopter that can take to the skies above Mars. With all that packed in to the ULA rocket, the launch should be quite a barnburner — if all goes well, it’ll arrive at Mars in February of 2021.
Update: The launch was successful, with the team announcing that it has received telemetry from the spacecraft and sent commands back to it. A few issues did arise during launch, but they have been dealt with. According to deputy project manager Matt Wallace, “With the understanding of the causes of these issues, we are conducting the operations necessary to move the spacecraft back out of safe mode and into normal cruise mode.”
Update on @NASAPersevere: We have received telemetry (detailed spacecraft data) down from the spacecraft and have also been able to send commands up to the spacecraft. Perseverance is healthy and on its way to Mars. https://t.co/U6dAazpEBp— Jim Bridenstine (@JimBridenstine) July 30, 2020
It’s launch day! 🚀— NASA's Kennedy Space Center (@NASAKennedy) July 30, 2020
Join @NASA at 7 a.m. ET for live coverage of liftoff of @NASAPersevere aboard this @ulalaunch rocket. Launch to the Red Planet is scheduled for 7:50 a.m. ET: https://t.co/A9sbAYbCl3 pic.twitter.com/benx20ir1x