NASA’s Launch Services Program announced on 19 December that it selected United Launch Alliance’s (ULA’s) Atlas V launch vehicle to launch the Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport (InSight) mission. The mission is designed to place a geophysical lander on the surface of Mars.
InSight is a surface explorer that will help us understand the processes that shaped the rocky planets of the inner solar system, including Earth.The InSight mission is scheduled to launch in 2016 from Space Launch Complex 3E at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. This mission will launch aboard an Atlas V 401 Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV), with a four-meter diameter payload fairing.
Currently the ULA operated Atlas V is the only launch vehicle certified by NASA to fly the nation’s largest and most complex space exploration missions.