Om een idee te krijgen hoe groot het karretje is dat (hopelijk) op Mars zal rondrijden......
Ietsje groter dan z'n voorgangers dus........
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------MSL and Curiosity 'Locked and Loaded' for Launch
by Staff Writers
Cape Canaveral FL (SPX) Nov 24, 2011
Following Wednesday morning's Launch Readiness Review, NASA and contractor managers gave the launch team the go-ahead to continue working towards liftoff of the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) on Saturday, Nov. 26. No significant launch vehicle or spacecraft issues are being worked on the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket or the MSL spacecraft, which includes the rover Curiosity.
"This rover, Curiosity rover, is really a rover on steroids. It's an order of magnitude more capable than anything we have ever launched to any planet in the solar system. It will go longer, it will discover more than we can possibly imagine," said Colleen Hartman, assistant associate administrator in NASA's Science Mission Directorate. "The Mars Science Lab and the rover Curiosity is locked and loaded, ready for final countdown on Saturday's launch to Mars."
The next major prelaunch milestone is rollout of the Atlas V to the launch pad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Space Launch Complex 41.
"We plan on rolling the vehicle out of the Vertical Integration Facility on Friday morning," said NASA Launch Director Omar Baez. "We should be on the way to the pad by 8 a.m."
"We've had our normal challenges and hiccups that we have in these kinds of major operations, but things have gone extremely smoothly and we're fully prepared to go on Saturday morning. We hope that the weather cooperates," said Peter Theisinger, MSL project manager from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.
Launch day weather is predicted to be favorable, with only a 30 percent chance of conditions prohibiting liftoff.
Mars Science Laboratory Launch Milestones
NASA's Mars Science Laboratory is tucked inside its Atlas V rocket, ready for launch on Saturday, Nov. 26, 2011 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The Nov. 26 launch window extends from 7:02 a.m. to 8:45 a.m. PST (10:02 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. EST). The launch period for the mission extends through Dec. 18.
The spacecraft, which will arrive at Mars in August 2012, is equipped with the most advanced rover ever to land on another planet. Named Curiosity, the rover will investigate whether the landing region has had environmental conditions favorable for supporting microbial life, and favorable for preserving clues about whether life existed.
On Nov. 26, NASA Television coverage of the launch will begin at 4:30 a.m. PST (7:30 a.m. EST). Live launch coverage will be carried on all NASA Television channels.
For NASA Television downlink information, schedule information and streaming video, click here. The launch coverage will also be streamed live on Ustream .
If the spacecraft lifts off at the start of the launch window on Nov. 26, the following milestones are anticipated. Times would vary for other launch times and dates.Launch
The rocket's first-stage common core booster, and the four solid rocket boosters, will ignite before liftoff. Launch, or "T Zero", actually occurs before the rocket leaves the ground. The four solid rocket boosters jettison at launch plus one minute and 52 seconds.Fairing Separation
The nose cone, or fairing, carrying Mars Science Laboratory will open like a clamshell and fall away at about three minutes and 25 seconds after launch. After this, the rocket's first stage will cut off and then drop into the Atlantic Ocean.Parking Orbit
The rocket's second stage, a Centaur engine, is started for the first time at about four minutes and 38 seconds after launch. After it completes its first burn of about 7 minutes, the rocket will be in a parking orbit around Earth at an altitude that varies from 102 miles (165 kilometers) to 201 miles (324 kilometers).
It will remain there from 14 to 30 minutes, depending on the launch date and time. If launch occurs at the beginning of the launch Nov. 26 launch window, this stage will last about 21 minutes.On the Way to Mars
The second Centaur burn, continuing for nearly 8 minutes (for a launch at the opening of the Nov. 26 launch window), lofts the spacecraft out of Earth orbit and sends it toward Mars.Spacecraft Separation
Mars Science Laboratory will separate from the rocket that boosted it toward Mars at about 44 minutes after launch, if launch occurs at the opening of the Nov. 26 window.
Shortly after that, the separated Centaur performs its last task, an avoidance maneuver taking itself out of the spacecraft's flight path to avoid hitting either the spacecraft or Mars.Sending a Message of Good Health
Once the spacecraft is in its cruise stage toward Mars, it can begin communicating with Earth via an antenna station in Canberra, Australia, part of NASA's Deep Space Network.
Engineers expect to hear first contact from the spacecraft at about 55 minutes after launch and assess the spacecraft's health during the subsequent 30 minutes. The spacecraft will arrive at the Red Planet Aug. 6, 2012, Universal Time (evening of Aug. 5, 2012, PDT).