For SpaceUpClose.com & RocketSTEM
CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION/KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FL – NASA’s $2.7 Billion Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover is now 1800 feet closer to Destination Mars after she was rolled out to launch pad 41 this morning bolted atop the powerful United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket that will propel her to space for the remainder of here 300 million mile (500 million kilometer) journey to the Red Planet where she will rove an ancient lake bed in search of signs of past microbial life.
Starting this morning July 28 with first motion at 10:24 a.m. NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance rover began the one-third-mile trek emerging vertical from ULA’s Vertical Integration Facility (VIF) to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 41.
The approximately 1800 foot long trip took about 45 minutes overall.
“The VIF is a 30-story building where the rocket stages and payload were put together for this mission aboard the Mobile Launch Platform. The MLP will travel to the pad with the help of undercarriage railcars and trackmobile machines that push the entire 1.8-million-pound platform and Atlas V 541 rocket along tracks up the hill to the pad,” said ULA.
The Mobile Launch Platform travels to the pad with the help of undercarriage railcars and trackmobile machines that push the entire 1.8-million-pound MLP and #AtlasV 541 rocket along tracks up the hill to the pad. https://t.co/iq4oKMab60 pic.twitter.com/dadVRYTBai
— ULA (@ulalaunch) July 28, 2020
Enjoy my Space UpClose photos of the rollout from the VIF to the top of pad 41.
ULA Atlas V and NASA Mars Perseverance rover rollout from the Vertical Integration Facility (VIF) to Space Launch Complex 41 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on July 28, 2020. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.comThe 197 foot tall stack is moved by a combination of railcars and trackmobiles
“The ULA Atlas V 541 rocket, with Perseverance aboard, was transported at speeds of 3 to 4 miles per hour during the trip.
“The MLP convoy is led by two boxcars, called the PVan and GVan. The payload support van houses spacecraft ground equipment such as the electrical and communication interfaces between the spacecraft systems and the launch pad throughout the countdown. The ground van supports the launch vehicle with a dedicated set of control electronics.”
“Bringing up the rear are two portable environmental control system trailers that supply conditioned air to the rocket’s compartments during rollout.”
The stack arrived atop the pad at 11: 19 a.m.
Here’s a cool video from ULA:
— NASA's Launch Services Program (@NASA_LSP) July 28, 2020
Bruno discussed the rollout with NASA Administrator Jim Bridendtine and science shief Thomas Zurbuchen at pad 41
At today's #AtlasV rollout @JimBridenstine, @Dr_ThomasZ and @ToryBruno talked about the Mars 2020 mission with @NASAPersevere and the Atlas V 541 rocket that will launch it to the red planet. "Go Atlas! Go Centaur! Go Perseverance!" #CountdownToMars pic.twitter.com/nmGtzql6L0
— ULA (@ulalaunch) July 28, 2020
And all activities were accomplished successfully – setting up the path to Thursday mornings launch.
“The MLP has been lowered onto the launch pad piers, accomplishing the “harddown” milestone at 11:23 a.m. EDT.”
“This will enable the undercarriages with the attached portable environmental control system trailers to be removed and retreat from the pad later this afternoon.”
The car-sized Perseverance Mars 2020 rover is targeted for liftoff on 30 July 2020 at 7:50 a.m. EDT (1150 GMT) aboard a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V 541 rocket from Space Launch Complex 41 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.
Weather remains at 80% GO
The approximately overall month-long launch window for the Mars 2020 Perseverance rover mission currently extends until August 15.
“We are literally chomping at the bit to take this nuclear powered dune buggy out to Mars,” said ULA CEO Tory Bruno at yesterday’s KSC briefing.
“We’re looking to accomplish one of the most complex things humanity has ever attempted,” Mars Sample Return Program Director Jeff Gramling said. “With the launch of Perseverance will be the first step in a mission to bring back samples from another planet.”
Watch my commentary about all the Mars 2020 missions Perseverance, Hope and Tianwen-1 missions including my Mars rover mosaics and outreach during an interview with WKMG CBS 6 Orlando TV news on July 23:
Watch my live prelaunch commentary today July 27 and prior post ULA Atlas V WDR interview about Mars 2020 rover and more at the American Space Museum ‘Stay Curious’ daily weekday show on June 22, 2020
Watch my earlier commentary about the impact of the launch delays at Fox 35 TV News Orlando on July 3:
Watch my July 2 interview on Pressing For Flight about Mars 2020, COVID-19, Artemis, SpaceX GPS/.Starlink and More:
Watch Ken’s continuing reports about Mars 2020, Commercial Crew and Artemis for live reporting of upcoming and recent NASA, ULA and SpaceX launches including Crew-1, Demo-2, Starlink, X-37B, Solar Orbiter and more at the Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.
Stay tuned here for Ken’s continuing Earth and Planetary science and human spaceflight news: www.kenkremer.com –www.spaceupclose.com – twitter @ken_kremer – email: ken at kenkremer.com
Dr. Kremer is a research scientist and journalist based in the KSC area, active in outreach and interviewed regularly on TV and radio about space topics.
Ken’s photos are for sale and he is available for lectures and outreach events
Ken has created hundreds of widely published Mars rover mosaics and lectures also about NASA’s Mars rovers
Ken’s upcoming outreach events:
Jul 28, 29 – 7 PM: Quality Inn Kennedy Space Center, Titusville, FL. “NASA/ULA Atlas V Mars 2020 rover and SpaceX Crew-1, Demo-2, GPS, Starlink, Anasis-II and more launches.” Free. In hotel lobby. Photos for sale