Science and Exploration

Maven Leaves Earth for Mars

By Keith Cowing
Status Report
November 18, 2013
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Maven Leaves Earth for Mars
MAVEN Launch

Flight of NASA’s MAVEN spacecraft continues to go well following an on-time launch at 1:28 p.m. EST aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket.
The vehicle’s Centaur upper stage took over the flight following normal burnout and separation of the first-stage booster. The Centaur engine has cut off as planned following a 9.5-minute burn. The spacecraft currently is in an orbit of 87 by 170 nautical miles. After a 24-minute coast, the Centaur engine will ignite for a second burn, lasting 5.5 minutes. Once the Centaur engine shuts down for the second time, the upper stage will turn to a separation attitude.

After a three minute delay to ensure the downrange Deep Space Network stations will have contact with MAVEN, spacecraft separation will occur over Australia, 52 minutes, 42 seconds after launch. About 20 minutes later, MAVEN’s solar arrays will unfurl, providing power to the spacecraft.

SpaceRef co-founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.