NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance rover mission launched to the Red Planet to search for signs of ancient life and collect samples to send back to Earth. Perseverance rover launched with the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter at 7:50 a.m. EDT Thursday on a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket at Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The team controlling NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance rover has received telemetry (spacecraft data) from the spacecraft and has also been able to send commands up to the spacecraft, according to Matt Wallace, mission’s deputy project manager.
The team, based at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory , has confirmed that the spacecraft is healthy and on its way to Mars. NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said, With the launch of Perseverance, we begin another historic mission of exploration. This amazing journey has already required the very best from all of us to get it to launch through these times. Now we can look forward to its incredible science and to bringing samples of Mars home and advance human missions to the Red Planet. As a mission, as an agency, we will persevere. The ULA Atlas V’s Centaur 2nd stage initially placed the Mars2020 spacecraft into parking orbit around Earth. The engine fired for a second time and the spacecraft separated from the Centaur as planed. Navigation data indicate the spacecraft is perfectly on course to Red Planet.
NASA’s Perseverance Rover began its long journey to Red Planet today by successfully launching from Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral . It now begins its seven-month journey to the Mars, landing there on Feb. 18, 2021 : NASA/JPL.
Spacecraft sent its first signal to ground controllers via NASA’s DSN at 9:15 a.m. EDT (6:15 a.m. PDT). However, telemetry (detailed spacecraft data) had not yet been acquired at that point. Around 11:30 a.m. EDT (8:30 a.m. PDT), a signal with telemetry was received from Spacecraft by NASA ground stations. Data indicate the spacecraft had entered safe mode, likely because a part of the spacecraft was a little colder while Mars 2020 was in Earth’s shadow. All temperatures are now nominal and the spacecraft is out of Earth’s shadow. When a spacecraft enters safe mode, all but essential systems are turned off until it receives new commands from mission control. An interplanetary launch is dynamic, so a spacecraft is designed to put itself in safe mode if its onboard computer perceives conditions are not within its preset parameters. Now, the Mars 2020 mission is completing a full health assessment on the spacecraft and is working to return the spacecraft to a planed configuration for its journey to Mars.
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