NASA Delays Perseverance Rover Launch. Again

03 Juillet, 2020, 09:24 | Auteur: Therese Cote
  • Christian Mangano

Almost three weeks after it delayed the launch of its next Mars rover, NASA has pushed it back again, citing "launch vehicle processing delays".

NASA initially said the launch must take place no later than August 15, but more recently suggested the window may be extended.

The rocket is then pumped full of propellants - liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen - and launch controllers go through all of the countdown procedures. None of the slips have had to do with issues with the Mars 2020 spacecraft itself.

NASA has also expanded the launch window by five days to August 15.

Tony Bruno, the CEO and President of United Launch Alliance, whose rocket will ferry the spacecraft to orbit, said in a tweet that a faulty sensor was to blame.

Two weeks later, the launch was pushed back by another two day due to "a contamination concern in the ground support lines". NASA confirmed in the latest launch delay announcement that the mission can now launch as late as August 15.

Curiosity has been exploring Mars for years, and NASA has been planning its successor for nearly as long.

The agency added that it is "examining if the launch period may be extended further into August". Any additional days that could be added beyond August 15 likely will have far shorter windows each day than the two-hour window available for a July 30 launch.

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The Mars rover was originally pencilled in to launch on July 17 before a series of setbacks struck.

After the initial three-day delay, NASA officials said they were confident the mission would still lift off before the launch period closes.

Launching payloads to Mars requires selecting an optimal launch window for the shortest possible trip - about seven to eight months.

Now, NASA is desperately hoping to avoid the same fate that befell the European Space Agency's Mars rover, Rosalind Franklin.

Mars 2020, carrying a rover named Perseverance, will land on Mars on February 18, 2021, regardless of what day it launches during the current launch period.

NASA has confirmed "off-nominal data" during a dress rehearsal will delay the alien-hunting Perseverance rover's launch to July 30 at the earliest.

The rover will collect samples of rock and soil, encase them in tubes, and leave them on the planet's surface for return to Earth at a future date.

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