Launch of next Mars rover slips to July 30 as planetary launch window extended.
NASA is pushing back the launch of its next Mars rover, called Perseverance, by a week, due to a problem with the rocket. An Atlas 5 rocket is going to send the spacecraft to the Red Planet. However, due to possible trouble with an oxygen sensor NASA and United Launch Alliance are prompted to delay the launch to no earlier than July 30, the space agency announced Tuesday. The agency’s $2.4 billion Perseverance Mars rover is scheduled to launch from pad 40 at Cape Canaveral, Florida.
A liquid oxygen sensor line produced “off-nominal data” during a test, and the mission team will need extra time to evaluate what happened.
If the 30th doesn’t work, the agency has more time to launch. NASA had originally chosen August 5th, but scientists have extended the window until August 15th and will later determine if another extension is possible. The rover is expected to land in Mars’ Jezero crater on February 18th, next year.
This isn’t the first delay. NASA had moved back the Mars 2020 liftoff from its original July 17th date to the 22nd after an issue with encapsulating the spacecraft.
Perseverance Mars rover and the Mars 2020 mission have been developed for years and this is an important mission, as it could shed light on possible past life on Mars, the planet’s geological history and even returning samples to Earth.
According to Space Flight Now.