Engineers observe the first driving test for NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance rover in a clean room at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, on Dec. 17, 2019.Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech
NASA is targeting 7:50 a.m. EDT Thursday, July 30, for the launch of its Mars 2020 Perseverance rover on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The launch window is approximately two hours, with a launch opportunity every five minutes.
Live launch coverage will begin at 7 a.m., on NASA Television and the agency’s website.
The mission – designed to better understand the geology and climate of Mars and seek signs of ancient life on the Red Planet – will use the robotic scientist, which weighs just under 2,300 pounds (1,043 kilograms) and is the size of a small car, to collect and store a set of rock and soil samples that could be returned to Earth by future Mars sample return missions. It also will test new technologies to benefit future robotic and human exploration of Mars.
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, managed by Caltech in Southern California, built the Perseverance rover and will manage mission operations for NASA. The agency’s Launch Services Program, based at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, is responsible for launch management.
Mars 2020 Perseverance is part of America’s larger Moon to Mars exploration approach that includes missions to the Moon as a way to prepare for human exploration of the Red Planet. Charged with sending the first woman and next man to the Moon by 2024, NASA will establish a sustained human presence on and around the Moon by 2028 through NASA’s Artemis program.
Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, media participation in news conferences will be remote. Only a limited number of media, who already have been accredited, will be accommodated at Kennedy. For the protection of media and Kennedy employees, the Kennedy Press Site News Center facilities will remain closed to all media throughout these events.
Questions may be asked via social media with the hashtag #CountdownToMars.
Full mission coverage is as follows (all times Eastern). To see the list of participants for each event, visit https://go.nasa.gov/2WCvYqh.
Monday, July 27
1 p.m. – Mars 2020 Prelaunch News Conference
3 p.m. – Mars 2020 Mission Engineering/Science Briefing
Tuesday, July 28
2 p.m. – Mars 2020 Mars Sample Return Briefing
4 p.m. – Mars 2020 Mission Tech and Humans to Mars Briefing
Wednesday, July 29
Noon – Administrator Briefing
No phone bridge will be available for this event. In-person media at Kennedy’s Press Site countdown clock may ask questions.
Thursday, July 30
7 a.m. – NASA TV live launch coverage begins
11:30 a.m. – Postlaunch News Conference
Audio only of the news conferences and launch coverage will be carried on the NASA “V” circuits, which may be accessed by dialing 321-867-1220, -1240, -1260 or -7135. On launch day, “mission audio,” the launch conductor’s countdown activities without NASA TV launch commentary, will be carried on 321-867-7135.
On launch day, a “clean feed” of the launch without NASA TV commentary will be carried on the NASA TV media channel. Launch also will be available on local amateur VHF radio frequency 146.940 MHz and UHF radio frequency 444.925 MHz, heard within Brevard County on Florida’s Space Coast.
For more information, visit:
NASA’s Mars 2020 press kit: