NASA’s next Mars mission has now burned nearly half of its launch window

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NASA suggests it will be pressured to hold off the launch of its multibillion-greenback Perseverance mission to no previously than July 30. The Mars-sure big rover need to launch on an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Power Station in Florida prior to the center of August, or it will skip Earth’s conjunction with the pink earth.

This is the 3rd hold off in the launch marketing campaign for Perseverance, previously regarded as Mars 2020, and the most relating to since a new, official launch day has not been established.

A challenge arose in the course of a Soaked Costume Rehearsal exam previously this thirty day period. In the course of this normal prelaunch exam, an Atlas V rocket is fueled with propellant and a countdown is performed till the last times prior to ignition. So what transpired? “A liquid-oxygen sensor line presented off-nominal data during the Wet Dress Rehearsal, and additional time is needed for the team to inspect and evaluate,” NASA explained in a assertion on Tuesday afternoon, in reaction to a question from Up News Info.

A supply in Florida indicated that the challenge was linked to the Atlas V rocket’s Centaur higher phase, which is fueled with liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen.

Increasing launch window

The $two.one billion rover is comparable to NASA’s Curiosity rover but includes many updates, which includes the addition of a little helicopter, and it will launch on the 541 configuration of the Atlas V rocket. NASA initially established a launch window from July 17 to August 11, the best time period for the rocket to launch, and for Perseverance to get to Mars within just about 6 months.

The launch has due to the fact been delayed from July 17 to July 20 thanks to a crane challenge in the course of the stacking procedure it was yet again delayed from July 20 to July 22. NASA attributed the latter setback to “a processing delay encountered during encapsulation activities of the spacecraft.”

The spacecraft has however to be stacked on best of the Atlas V rocket’s initially and 2nd levels. It now appears most likely that the rocket’s company, United Start Alliance, will will need to realize and deal with the challenge with the liquid-oxygen sensor line prior to that exercise can progress. When the rocket and its payload get to the launch pad, the mission will also have to contend with summertime climate in Florida, the place storms alongside the coastline are typical.

On Tuesday, the place company explained it experienced prolonged the launch window to August 15 and will study no matter whether the launch window can be prolonged a number of much more times into August. If the Perseverance mission misses this launch window, it would be delayed 26 months, at a value of hundreds of tens of millions of pounds, till the next Earth-Mars conjunction in 2022.

Listing impression by United Start Alliance