By August 14, 2005

MRO Launch third time lucky

After several false starts over the past week NASA’s Multipurpose Mars Mission Successfully Launched on Friday 12th August, leaving two days later than planned due to a potential gyro fault on the 10th August and a software problem on the 11th August.

The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) rode on top of an Atlas V launch vehicle, 19 stories tall and departed from Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Its powerful first stage consumed about 200 tons of fuel and oxygen in just over four minutes, then dropped away to let the upper stage finish the job of putting the spacecraft on a path toward Mars. This was the first launch of an interplanetary mission on an Atlas V.

Mission control were able to establish radio contact with MRO 61 minutes after launch, just 4 minutes after separation from the upper stage of the Atlas V. 10 minutes later the orbiter finished unfolding its solar panels to begin charging her internal batteries.

Mars is 72 million miles from Earth but MRO must travel almost 4 times that distance in order to intercept with Mars. The journey will take about 7 months, arriving in orbit on the 10th March 2006.


(Image credit: Nasa/KSC)

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More than 20 years in the IT industry. Blogging with a passion and thirst for new technology since 2005.
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