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MAVEN has arrived at the launch pad

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla

08-11-2013 12:14 CST

Topics: pretty pictures, mission status, MAVEN, spacecraft, rockets

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:

  • Fri., Nov. 15 1:00 EST / 10:00 PST / 18:00 UTC: Prelaunch news conference
  • Fri., Nov. 15 2:00 EST / 11:00 PST / 19:00 UTC: Prelaunch news conference in Spanish
  • Sun., Nov. 17 10:00 EST / 7:00 PST / 15:00 UTC: Mission science briefing
  • Sun., Nov. 17 1:30 EST / 10:30 PST / 18:30 UTC: "The Path Toward Humans to Mars" briefing
  • Mon., Nov. 18 11:00 EST / 08:00 PST / 16:00 UTC: Launch coverage begins
  • Mon., Nov. 18 4:00 EST / 1:00 PST / 21:00 UTC: Post-launch press briefing (time approx.)
 
See other posts from November 2013

 

Or read more blog entries about: pretty pictures, mission status, MAVEN, spacecraft, rockets

Comments:

Fred Merchant: 11/09/2013 02:05 CST

That would be 11/18 4:00 PM EST, or 1600 EST for the post-launch press briefing? My 71-year old brain has conversion problems. Thx. Nice posts.

matt: 11/09/2013 07:08 CST

This is off-topic, but what do you know about proposals for DSN upgrades? I see you wrote in 2010 about adding three 34m antennas in Canberra, in which you referenced a JPL presentation I can't access. In various proposals for the (Innovative) Interstellar Explorer mission, some mention was made of a DSN upgrade which involved large numbers of 12m dishes, presumably in an interferometric array. Do you know if there are presentations talking about this possibility, or published white papers?

Emily Lakdawalla: 11/11/2013 11:21 CST

Matt, they seem to have settled on using 34-m dishes, which they sometimes array. They're building more of those with "beam waveguide" systems.

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