InSight will be launched on the 5 May 2018. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
NASA’s InSight spacecraft is another step closer to reaching the Red Planet in November 2018, as it passed a key test on 23 January 2018. The test consisted of extending its solar arrays, which are vital to powering the spacecraft for the duration of its stay.
The test for NASA’s Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport, also known as InSight, was conducted at Lockheed Martin Space just outside of Denver, Colorado. The team leading the mission at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, have overseen the construction and testing at Lockheed Martian Space. Assuming all tests go smoothly, InSight will launch on the 5 May 2018.
“This is the last time we will see the spacecraft in landed configuration before it arrives at the Red Planet,” says Scott Daniels, Lockheed Martin InSight Assembly, Test and Launch Operations (ATLO) manager. “There are still many steps we have to take before launch, but this is a critical milestone before shipping to Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.”
The solar panels – that resemble a fan – are designed to optimise the weak sunlight Mars receives. As ...