MAVEN Faces Busy Week of Processing Milestones
By Space Coast Daily // October 22, 2013
launch is set for next month
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NASA.gov — MAVEN did a spin test yesterday at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, where the spacecraft is being prepared for its upcoming mission to Mars.
Processing activities remain on schedule and are progressing well. Today’s spin test will check MAVEN’s balance at various spin rates up to 10 revolutions per minute. The next step for the processing team will be to fuel the spacecraft, most likely later this week.
Also today, the protective payload fairing for the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket is moving into the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility’s high bay, where it will encapsulate the MAVEN spacecraft in early November.
NASA PREPARES FOR NEXT MARS EXPLORER LAUNCH
NASA is preparing its next Mars explorer for launch. The Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution, or MAVEN, spacecraft will be the first to study the Red Planet’s upper atmosphere.
Scientists expect data gathered during the MAVEN mission to help explain how Mars’ climate has changed over time due to the loss of atmospheric gases.
A U.S. Air Force C-17 cargo plane delivered the solar-powered spacecraft to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Aug. 2, kicking off the final weeks of prelaunch activities such as hardware installation, testing and fueling.
MAVEN is set to launch aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket during a 20-day launch period beginning November 18. The one-year mission begins in Sept. 2014, when the spacecraft reaches Mars orbit.