A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket rolled to the pad Tuesday in preparation for launching NASA’s Perseverance rover to Mars today. The mission is scheduled to blast off from Space Launch Complex 41 (SLC-41) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station during a two-hour window today that opens at 7:50am. The Perseverance Mars rover is safely tucked inside the rocket’s nose cone affixed to the top of the vehicle. Flying in the second-most powerful configuration — known as the 541 configuration — the Atlas V will produce 2.3 million lbs. of thrust at liftoff. That power comes thanks to the vehicle’s RD-180 main engine and an added boost from four solid rocket motors attached to the rocket. The 4-pound helicopter, Ingenuity, will travel to Mars clutching the rover’s belly and, a few months after touchdown, attempt to fly solo. Once dropping onto the Martian surface, Ingenuity will start out like a baby bird, rising 10 feet into the planet’s extremely thin atmosphere and flying forward up to 6 feet. With each attempt, it will try to go a little higher and farther.
To visit the NASA site for this mission: CLICK HERE (You will be redirected)
Photo Credit: NASA