NASA OKs May 2018 Launch Date for Lockheed-Built InSight Mars Lander

InSightNASA‘s science mission directorate has cleared the space agency’s new plan to launch a Lockheed Martin-built robotic spacecraft May 5, 2018 as part of efforts to investigate the deep interior of Mars.

The agency said Friday it expects the Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport lander to reach the Red Planet by Nov. 26, 2018.

“Our robotic scientific explorers such as InSight are paving the way toward an ambitious journey to send humans to the Red Planet,“ said Geoff Yoder, acting associate administrator at NASA’s science mission directorate.

NASA postponed the estimated $675 million InSight mission in March due to a vacuum leak in the lander’s primary science instrument called the Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure.

The agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory will redesign, develop and qualify the SEIS evacuated container and electrical feedthroughs that have previously failed while the agency’s French counterpart will work to build and integrate the instrument’s sensors and integrate them onto the spacecraft.

Germany’s aerospace center will contribute a heat flow and physical properties package to the InSight mission’s science payload, NASA added.

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