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Emily LakdawallaDecember 4, 2008

Mars Science Laboratory is delayed two years

Mars Science Laboratory will not be ready for launch in October 2009 as planned. And since Mars launches are limited by the vagaries of celestial mechanics to launch periods spaced about two years apart, that means it cannot launch until the end of 2011. There will be no American launch to Mars in the 2009 opportunity; Russia is still set on the 2009 opportunity for the launch of Phobos-Grunt and Yinghuo-1.

A press briefing is happening now; I'll have more details after it ends.

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Emily Lakdawalla

Solar System Specialist for The Planetary Society
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