first-ever mission to study the heart of Mars
(NASA) – NASA’s next mission to Mars, Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy, and Heat Transport (InSight), is scheduled to launch Saturday, May 5, on a first-ever mission to study the heart of Mars.
Coverage of prelaunch and launch activities begins Thursday, May 3, on NASA Television.
InSight, the first planetary mission to take off from the West Coast, is targeted to launch at 7:05 a.m. EDT (4:05 a.m. PDT) from Space Launch Complex-3 at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California aboard a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket.
Launching on the same rocket is a separate NASA technology experiment known as Mars Cube One (MarCO).
MarCO consists of two mini-spacecraft and will be the first test of CubeSat technology in deep space. They are designed to test new communications and navigation capabilities for future missions and may aid InSight communications.
NASA TV and online mission coverage is as follows (all times Eastern):
Thursday, May 3
4 p.m. – Prelaunch Briefing
- Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters
- Bruce Banerdt, InSight principal investigator at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory
- Tom Hoffman, InSight project manager at JPL
- Annick Sylvestre-Baron, deputy project manager for the InSight seismometer investigation at France’s space agency, the Centre National d’Études Spatiales
- Philippe Lognonné, InSight seismometer investigation lead at the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris in France
- Tilman Spohn, investigation lead at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) for the Heat Flow and Physical Properties Probe (HP3), an instrument on InSight
- Andrew Klesh, MarCO chief engineer at JPL
- Anne Marinan, MarCO systems engineer at JPL
- Stu Spath, InSight program manager at Lockheed Martin Space
- Tim Dunn, launch director with NASA’s Launch Services Program
- Scott Messer, ULA program manager for NASA launches
- Col. Michael Hough, commander of the 30th Space Wing at Vandenberg
- 1st Lt. Kristina Williams, weather officer for the 30th Space Wing
Saturday, May 5
6:30 a.m. – Launch coverage begins.
7:05 a.m. – Launch time
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