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