Press Release

NASA Selects United Launch Alliance Atlas V for 2016 Mission to Mars

By SpaceRef Editor
December 19, 2013
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NASA’s Launch Services Program announced today that it selected United Launch Alliance’s (ULA’s) proven Atlas V vehicle to launch the Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport (InSight) mission, which will place a geophysical lander on the surface of Mars.

“We could not be more honored that NASA has selected ULA to launch the InSight mission, which will be landing on the surface of Mars,” said Jim Sponnick, ULA vice president of Atlas and Delta Programs. “This mission with be the eighth mission to Mars that ULA vehicles have launched since 2001, including Mars Science Lab and most recently MAVEN.”

The InSight mission is scheduled to launch in 2016 from Space Launch Complex 3E at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. This mission will launch aboard an Atlas V 401 Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV), with a four-meter diameter payload fairing.

“With 42 successful missions spanning more than a decade of operational service, the commercially developed Atlas V has the performance capability and the reliability required for this high-value NASA mission,” said Sponnick.

ULA’s Atlas V is the only launch vehicle certified by NASA to fly the nation’s largest and most complex space exploration missions.

InSight is a surface explorer that will help us understand the processes that shaped the rocky planets of the inner solar system, including Earth.

ULA program management, engineering, test and mission support functions are headquartered in Denver, Colo. Manufacturing, assembly and integration operations are located at Decatur, Ala., and Harlingen, Texas. Launch operations are located at Cape Canaveral AFS, Fla., and Vandenberg AFB, Calif.

For more information on ULA, visit the ULA website at, or call the ULA Launch Hotline at 1-877-ULA-4321 (852-4321). Join the conversation at and



SpaceRef staff editor.