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STATUS REPORT
11.18.2011

Expendable Launch Vehicle Status Report

Curiosity's Rocket Illuminating On the Launch Pad
Curiosity's Rocket Illuminating On the Launch Pad
The Atlas V rocket set to launch NASA's Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission is illuminated inside the Vertical Integration Facility at Space Launch Complex 41, where employees have gathered to hoist the spacecraft's multi-mission radioisotope thermoelectric generator (MMRTG).

The Flight Readiness Review for the Mars Science Laboratory was conducted Friday in the mission briefing room at NASA's Kennedy Space Center. At its conclusion, there were no issues that would preclude a rollout to the launch pad of the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket on Nov. 23. First motion from the Vertical Integration Facility is planned for 10 a.m.

At Space Launch Complex 41, the multi-mission radioisotope thermoelectric generator (MMRTG) was installed on the Curiosity rover within the Atlas fairing on Nov. 17.

On launch day, Nov. 25, the countdown will begin at 3:25 a.m. The process for cryogenic fueling, the loading of liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen aboard the Atlas V, will begin at 8:15 a.m. (T-2 hours and counting).

Curiosity has 10 science instruments to search for evidence about whether Mars has had environments favorable for microbial life, including the chemical ingredients for life. The unique rover will use a laser to look inside rocks and release the gasses so that its spectrometer can analyze and send the data back to Earth.

George H. Diller

Kennedy Space Center, Fla.

321-867-2468

george.h.diller@nasa.gov


All Related Images
  • The Atlas V rocket set to launch NASA's Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission is illuminated inside the Vertical Integration Facility at Space Launch Complex 41, where employees have gathered to hoist the spacecraft's multi-mission radioisotope thermoelectric generator (MMRTG).
    Curiosity's Rocket Illuminating On the Launch Pad
  • Enclosed in the protective mesh container known as the "gorilla cage," the multi-mission radioisotope thermoelectric generator (MMRTG) for NASA's Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission is lifted up the side of the Vertical Integration Facility at Space Launch Complex 41.
    Lifting the Multi-Mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (MMRTG)
  • Employees gathered one level above monitor the progress of the protective mesh container known as the "gorilla cage," holding the multi-mission radioisotope thermoelectric generator (MMRTG) for NASA's Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission, as it is lifted near the top of the Atlas V rocket in the Vertical Integration Facility at Space Launch Complex 41.
    Installing the MMRTG Power Source

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