Launch

Launch

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Successfully Launched
Nov. 26, 2011, 10:02 a.m. EST (7:02 a.m. PST)


Curiosity's Launch   

NASA began a historic voyage to Mars with the Nov. 26, 2011, launch of the Mars Science Laboratory mission, which carries a car-sized rover named Curiosity. Liftoff from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station aboard an Atlas V rocket occurred at 10:02 a.m. EST (7:02 a.m.)

Curiosity's Launch: Download video >

Launch Facts and Links


Launched: 7:02 a.m. PST, Nov. 26, 2011 (10:02 a.m. EST)
Landed: 10:32 p.m. PDT, Aug. 5, 2012
(1:32 a.m. EDT, Aug. 6, 2012)
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Curiosity Launches to Mars

Curiosity Launches to Mars 

Under partially cloudy skies, NASA launched the Mars Science Laboratory mission and its Curiosity rover to Mars on Nov. 26, 2011, at 7:02 a.m. PT (10:02 a.m. ET). Liftoff was from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station aboard an Atlas V rocket.
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Curiosity at the Launch Pad

Curiosity at the Launch Pad 

The Mars Science Lab launched from Launch Complex 41, which is nestled on the sandy shores of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.
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Riding Atop an Atlas V Rocket

Riding Atop an Atlas V Rocket 

The rover launched aboard one of the biggest rockets available for an interplanetary flight, the Atlas V 541. This is the same type of rocket that launched the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter to Mars and, the Juno spacecraft to Jupiter.
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Launch Vehicle

Launch Vehicle 

The Atlas V-541 is a two-stage launch vehicle, provided by United Launch Alliance, a joint venture of Boeing Co. and Lockheed Martin Corp.
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One Big Rocket!

One Big Rocket! 

The rocket stands 191 feet (58 meters) tall. That's as tall as a 19 story building. Fully fueled, with the spacecraft, the Atlas V-541 rocket weighs about 1.17 million pounds (531,000 kilograms). That's about 14 big rigs, fully loaded with cargo.
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Launch is Only the Beginning

Launch is Only the Beginning 

Launch is just the beginning. Curiosity's trip to Mars took over eight months. The journey was about 354 million miles (570 million kilometers)! Oh yeah, then there was landing . . . which is a whole other story.
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Curiosity's Launch Blog

MSL Spacecraft in Excellent Health
Saturday, November 26th, 2011, 9:56:09 AM PST

A signal from NASA's Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft, including the new Curiosity rover, was received by officials on the ground shortly after spacecraft separation. The spacecraft is flying free and headed for Mars after separation from the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket that started it on its journey to the Red Planet. Liftoff was on time at 10:02 a.m. EST from Space Launch Complex 41 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

"Our spacecraft is in excellent health and it's on its way to Mars," said Pete Theisinger, Mars Science Laboratory Project Manager from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California. He thanked the launch team, United Launch Alliance, NASA's Launch Services Program and NASA's Kennedy Space Center for their help getting MSL into space.

"We are ready to go for landing on the surface of Mars, and we couldn't be happier," said John Grotzinger, Mars Science Laboratory Project Scientist from the California Institute of Technology. "I think this mission will be a great one. It is an important next step in NASA's overall goal to address the issue of life in the universe."

Grotzinger added, "It is important to distinguish that as an intermediate mission between (Mars Exploration Rovers), which was the search for water, and future missions, which may undertake life detection, our mission is about looking for ancient habitable environments."

"Science fiction is now science fact," said Doug McCuisition, director of the Mars Exploration Program at NASA Headquarters. "We're flying to Mars. We'll get it on the ground... and see what we find."

Blog archive ›

read the article 'NASA Launches Most Capable and Robust Rover To Mars'
NASA began a historic voyage to Mars with the Nov. 26 launch of the Mars Science Laboratory, which carries a car-sized rover named Curiosity. Liftoff from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station aboard an Atlas V rocket occurred at 10:02 a.m. EST (7:02 a.m.)
Read More ››
Feature 11/23/2011 Mars Science Laboratory Launch Milestones ››
Press Release 11/21/2011 NASA Updates Prelaunch Events for Mars Science Lab. ››
Status Report 11/19/2011 NASA's Mars Science Laboratory Set for Saturday, Nov. 26 Launch ››
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