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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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Pete Crow Seine/Harbour™ Productions and The Grove Sun Daily, is shown on top of the newly re-purposed Launch Pad 39-B at Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on November 23, 2011. On the left hand side of this picture the now unused Pad 39-A where shuttles were launched can be seen. Re-purposing Pad 39-B will be completed in 2017 at a cost of $350-million. Also Launch Pad 41 where the Mars Space Laboratory was to be launched on Saturday, November 26, 2011, is visible.

The liftoff of the Mars Science Laboratory is now scheduled for 10:02 EST from Kennedy Space Center, Launch Complex 41.

In coming days, as time permits, I’ll post the photographs of the MSL mission, and write about NASA’s plans now going forward from the Space Shuttle from briefings NASA has held this week for the media.

I also have updated photographs of the Launch Control Center Firing Rooms 1 and 2 which I visited on Wednesday, November 23, of the Vehicle Assembly Building where the shuttle Endeavour is stored, and inside hangar #3 (Orbiter Processing Facility #3) which shortly will be gutted and re-purposed by Boeing which now occupies OPF-3.

I will also post photographs of the now re-purposed Launch Pad 39-B (above) which was demolished last summer and has been partially rebuilt.

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petecrow/NASA is copyright 2011 by Peter Michael Crow and by Seine/Harbour™ Productions, Studio City, California.

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The Mars Science Laboratory ... (courtesy, NASA)

The MSL launch has been pushed back one day from its original launch date. Now the planned launch will be no earlier than Saturday, November 26, 2011.

For NASA updates and more on this mission, click HERE

BRIEFING SCHEDULE, === click TO enlarge

The launch will be from Kennedy Space Center. A series of briefing will be broadcast on line daily starting Monday, November 21

Go to http://www.nasa.gov — then go to live NASA TV using the attached schedule for MSL (Mars Science Laboratory). The schedule for Monday and Tuesday is on the left — click on image to enlarge and read.

Why this Mission really matters.
This is truly a remarkable laboratory that NASA is launching on November 25, 2011. The briefings will explain (again) why Mars matters so much and discuss the nature of Mars and how it is a huge repository of scientific information that will help us better understand Earth.

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