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Emily LakdawallaNovember 8, 2013

MAVEN has arrived at the launch pad

As India's Mars Orbiter Mission continues to pump up the altitude of its orbit around Earth, NASA's MAVEN is making final preparations for its direct-to-Mars launch. All is proceeding acccording to schedule toward its November 18 launch at 1:28 EST / 10:28 PST / 18:28 UTC. Last week, scientists and engineers bid farewell to their spacecraft, enclosing it in the fairing that will protect its launch through Earth's atmosphere. That marked the last time that human hands will ever touch the Mars-bound craft.

Last look at MAVEN being enclosed in its fairing, November 2, 2013

NASA / Kim Shiflett

Last look at MAVEN being enclosed in its fairing, November 2, 2013
MAVEN inside its fairing, November 6, 2013

NASA / Kim Shiflett

MAVEN inside its fairing, November 6, 2013

This morning, the fairing-enclosed spacecraft was trucked to the launch pad and hoisted atop its Atlas V rocket.

MAVEN being hoisted atop its Atlas V, November 8, 2013

NASA / Kim Shiflett

MAVEN being hoisted atop its Atlas V, November 8, 2013
MAVEN atop its Atlas V, November 8, 2013

NASA / Kim Shiflett

MAVEN atop its Atlas V, November 8, 2013

Lots more pictures are available, as always, from Kennedy Space Center's Multimedia Gallery.

NASA also announced plans for prelaunch briefings on NASA TV:

Read more: pretty pictures, mission status, MAVEN, spacecraft, rockets

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Emily Lakdawalla

Senior Editor and Planetary Evangelist for The Planetary Society
Read more articles by Emily Lakdawalla

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