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Archive for the ‘launch pad 41’ Category

The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) lifts off in a picture perfect launch from Pad 41, Kennedy Space Center at 10:02 am EST, Saturday morning, November 26, 2011. The MSL will land on Mars on August 6, 2012, at Gale Crater. It will begin an exploration that could last years.

The current header shows the MSL several more seconds into the launch.

Control of the MSL mission will be in Pasadena, California, at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory which developed Curiousity and managed to sneak its name onto the rover’s tire in Morse Code.

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Yeah, I took these launch photos (CLICK to ENLARGE them) from the roof of the Vehicle Assembly Building at KSC.

This is a series of about 20 photographs of the launch, many of which will be posted here in coming days. I will also post photo reports, day by day, starting on Monday, November 21 (L-4) through the launch on November 26 (L-0). Because of Thanksgiving, L-2 was Wednesday, and L-1 was Friday. The launch count was suspended for a day on Thanksgiving.

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MSL mission LOGO

We spent the week at Kennedy Space Center in briefings on the Mars Science Laboratory which is scheduled to launch at 10:02 am EST, November 26, 2012, Saturday morning. Carol Anne will shoot it from the roof of the Launch Control Center. I’ll be on the roof of the Vehicle Assembly Building. The Lab is scheduled to land on Mars on August 6, 2012.
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See animation of how MSL’s Curiosity rover will land on Mars HERE

Read more about this mission and other NASA stuff HERE.
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Carol Anne on the roadway that carried the Atlas rocket and the Mars Science Laboratory to Launch Pad 41 at Kennedy Space Center a few minutes earlier. It is Friday morning, November 25, 2011. With MSL on the pad, all that is left that is needed is favorable weather. Behind Carol Anne is the Pad 41 hangar belonging to the publicly owned United Launch Alliance (ULA) where the Atlas rocket and the MSL were mated.


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Pete at KSC Launch Pad 41. The Atlas rocket with the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) on top is in the background. The MSL weighs as astounding 2,000 pounds and is expected to determine once and for all whether there is or was life on Mars (hint: there was, and probably still is). It will also continue paving the way for a manned landing on Mars planned for about 2030. Before MSL lands the landing area at Gale Crater will be overflown by the two satellites the United States currently has on station orbiting Mars.


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Mars Science Laboratory launches no earlier than Saturday, November 26, 2011, 10:02 am EST.

The Landing is scheduled for August 6, 2012.

See NASA’s animation of how MSL’s Curiosity rover will land on Mars HERE.

Watch the launch live on Saturday morning NASA TV.

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The Mars Science Lab, atop an Atlas rocket, is moved from its hangar (left) to Pad 41 (right — the four lightning towers) where it is scheduled to begin a 9 month trip to the surface of Mars at 10:02 am, Saturday, November 26, 2011. This photo, taken about 9 am, Friday, November 25, 2011, shows the MSL stack about midway between the pad and the hangar. The photo was taken from The Beach House, a relaxation villa for astronauts (and once a private from before the space center took the property) on the Atlantic Ocean beach. On the extreme far right of this photograph, Pad 39-A, is visible. The final shuttle missions were launched from 39-A.
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.”petecrow/NASA” © 2011 by / Peter M. Crow and the Peter Michael Crow Trust and by Seine/Harbour® Productions, LLC, Studio City, California.

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Until May, NASA thought they were tearing down Pad 39-B to re-purpose her for the Constellation program. Then, for a second time, just as the new spaceship was about to be manufactured, Obama canceled it. Millions were wasted.

In preparation for Constellation, three lightning towers were arrayed around the launch pad at 39-B. Why? Who knows — lightning never struck a shuttle on the pad or even came close. Until these lightning rods were erected, that is. Now huge strikes are hitting the pad, although not striking any vehicles (since there are no vehicles on the pad to strike).

Launch Pad 39-B on November 23, 2011. The stairway in the foreground is Apollo era and aging. The stairway leads to the transporter, shown here just behind the stairway. On November 23, 2011 NASA took reporters by the stairs, and by elevator to the very top of the pad, about 350-feet above sea level on open grates. The next time this configuration will be on Pad 39-B will be, at the earliest, 2017.

Pad 39-B, like its identical twin, 39-A, once launched men to the Moon and was active during the shuttle program. One historical fact about 39-B is not a happy one. Challenger lifted off from this pad on January 28, 1986, and exploded.

Today all that remains of the original pad is a stairway from the Apollo era that ended in 1972. It was that stairway that Pete and other reporters began their climb on Wednesday up 350-feet to the top of the new Pad 39-B which will be under construction until 2017 at an estimated total cost of $350-million.

It’s not clear what vehicles, if any, will actually launch from 39-B, and the date of 2017 is just that — a date.

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In the week before the Mars Science Laboratory launch, NASA took the opportunity of the large number of accredited media being on site to brief the press on a wide range of topics, beyond the MSL itself.

Subjects included the radiological lab where radiation is monitored when, as will be the case with the MSL, radioactive materials are on board a launched vehicle.

The media was briefed in detail on how, currently, NASA plans to place humans on Mars and return them safely at the end of a 900 day mission (to be launched no sooner than 2030).

The media visited the Vehicle Assembly Building and saw the Shuttle Endeavour, now parked there … and more.

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