Help Shape the Future of Space Exploration

Join The Planetary Society Now  arrow.png

Join our eNewsletter for updates & action alerts

    Please leave this field empty

Headshot of Emily Lakdawalla

MAVEN is on the way to Mars

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla

18-11-2013 16:17 CST

Topics: mission status, MAVEN, rockets

A picture-perfect launch on an Atlas V rocket has sent MAVEN on her way to Mars. Two weeks ago, a rocket leapt off the launch pad to take India's Mars Orbiter Mission aloft. By comparison, today's launch seemed to take place in slow motion. Here's a replay:

Following the two-stage burn of Atlas and Centaur, the spacecraft coasted for about half an hour before Centaur fired again to place MAVEN on a direct-to-Mars trajectory. After separating from the Centaur, MAVEN quickly established contact with Earth through her low-gain antenna. A few minutes later, the solar panels deployed and started charging her batteries, and she was truly on her own and on her way to Mars.

Tracking Mars missions from Canberra

Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex

Tracking Mars missions from Canberra
Shortly after MAVEN launched to Mars on November 18, 2013, its signal was picked up by two 34-meter Deep Space Network antennae in Australia: DSS-34, at center, and DSS-45, at right. Meanwhile, the 70-meter dish, DSS-43 (left), tracked Mars Odyssey and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

Over the next three months, mission controllers will test out spacecraft systems and scientific instruments, culminating in the first use of the high-gain antenna. According to MAVEN's Twitter feed, today's on-time launch puts the mission on course for a September 22, 2014 arrival at Mars. The first trajectory correction maneuver will take place in two weeks, on December 3.

MAVEN launches to Mars

NASA / Bill Ingalls

MAVEN launches to Mars
MAVEN lifted off at 18:28 UTC on November 18, 2013, atop an Atlas V 401 rocket.
See other posts from November 2013


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

Facebook Twitter Email RSS AddThis

Blog Search


Our Curiosity Knows No Bounds!

Become a member of The Planetary Society and together we will create the future of space exploration.

Join Us

Featured Images

Expedition 42 crew poster

Soyuz TMA-15M goes vertical
Soyuz TMA-15M timelapse
Soyuz TMA-15M liftoff
More Images

Featured Video

View Larger »

Space in Images

Pretty pictures and
awe-inspiring science.

See More

Join the New Millennium Committee

Let’s invent the future together!

Become a Member

Connect With Us

Facebook! Twitter! Google+ and more…
Continue the conversation with our online community!