ULA’s Atlas V Rocket Begins Final Preps for Mars 2020; Gary Wentz Quoted

Gary Wentz
Gary Wentz

United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V rocket has entered the final preparation phase ahead of the Mars 2020 mission in which NASA’s Perseverance rover will conduct a probe of the Martian surface to support planetary research.

ULA said Monday that Atlas V is slated to lift off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on Thursday within a two-hour launch window that will begin at 7:50 a.m. EDT.

The news comes after NASA concluded the flight readiness review of Perseverance last week.

“The discoveries from the Mars 2020 mission will provide crucial science and research that will help inform NASA’s future plans to put humans on the Moon and Mars,” said Gary Wentz, vice president of government and commercial programs at ULA. “We look forward to continuing the Mars mission legacy with our NASA partners.”

The Atlas V vehicle that will be used for the Mars mission has a 541 configuration and Aerojet Rocketdyne-built solid rocket boosters and engines to support the upper stage known as Centaur.

Mars 2020 will serve as Atlas V’s fifth mission to the red planet, with the latest being the InSight lander mission in 2018.

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