Bound for Mars: NASA preparing for First Interplanetary Launch from Vandenberg AFB

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Bound for Mars: NASA preparing for First Interplanetary Launch from Vandenberg AFB

NASA’s InSight to Mars undergoes final preparations at Vandenberg AFB, Calif., ahead of its May 5 launch date. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

On the morning of May 5, NASA will be conducting the First Interplanetary Launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base.

On board the 189-foot-tall (57.3-meter) United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket will be NASA’s InSight spacecraft, destined for Mars’ northern hemisphere. The May 5 launch window for the InSight mission opens at 4:05 am PDT (7:05 EDT, 11:05 UTC) and remains open for two hours.

Once there, the lander will study the deep interior of Mars to learn how all rocky planets formed, including Earth and its moon. The lander’s instruments include a seismometer to detect marsquakes and a probe that will monitor the flow of heat in the planet’s subsurface.

Additional information on viewing the launch in person is at: https://mars.nasa.gov/insight/mission/timeline/launch/watch-in-person/.

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Bound for Mars: Countdown to First Interplanetary Launch from California

In the early morning hours of May 5, millions of Californians will have an opportunity to witness a sight they have never seen before – the historic first interplanetary launch from America’s West Coast. On board the 189-foot-tall (57.3-meter) United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket will be NASA’s InSight spacecraft, destined for the Elysium Planitia region located in Mars’ northern hemisphere. The May 5 launch window for the InSight mission opens at 4:05 am PDT (7:05 EDT, 11:05 UTC) and remains open for two hours.

“If you live in Southern California and the weather is right, you’ll probably have a better view of the launch than I will,” said Tom Hoffman, project manager for NASA’s InSight mission from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. “I’ll be stuck inside a control room looking at monitors — which is not the best way to enjoy an Atlas 5 on its way to Mars.”

NASA’s InSight to Mars will be the first interplanetary launch from America’s West Coast. Residents in some of California’s coastal communities could get a front row seat when the mission launches from Vandenberg Air Force Base. Here’s when and where to see it.

In clear skies, the InSight launch should be viewable up and down a wide swath of the California coast. Residents from as far north as Bakersfield to perhaps as far south as Rosarito, Mexico, may see the Atlas rocket rising in the predawn sky and then heading south, parallel to the coastline.

The United Launch Alliance two-stage Atlas V 401 launch vehicle will produce 860,200 pounds (3.8 million newtons) of thrust as it climbs away from its launch pad at Vandenberg Air Force Base, near Lompoc, California. During the first 17 seconds of powered flight, the Atlas V will climb vertically above its launch pad. Then it will begin a pitch and yaw maneuver that will place it on a trajectory towards Earth’s south pole.

Reference

NASA’s InSight Spacecraft set to launch May 5th for Mars

On board the 189-foot-tall (57.3-meter) United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket will be NASA’s InSight spacecraft, destined for the Elysium Planitia region located in Mars’ northern hemisphere. The May 5th launch window for the InSight mission opens at 4:05am PDT (6:05 CDT, 11:05 UTC) and remains open for two hours.

NASA’s InSight to Mars undergoes final preparations at Vandenberg Air Force Base, CA, ahead of its May 5th launch date. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

“If you live in Southern California and the weather is right, you’ll probably have a better view of the launch than I will,” said Tom Hoffman, project manager for NASA’s InSight mission from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. “I’ll be stuck inside a control room looking at monitors — which is not the best way to enjoy an Atlas 5 on its way to Mars.”

In clear skies, the InSight launch should be viewable up and down a wide swath of the California coast. Residents from as far north as Bakersfield to perhaps as far south as Rosarito, Mexico, may see the Atlas rocket rising in the predawn sky and then heading south, parallel to the coastline.

The United Launch Alliance two-stage Atlas V 401 launch vehicle will produce 860,200 pounds (3.8 million newtons) of thrust as it climbs away from its launch pad at Vandenberg Air Force Base, near Lompoc, California. During the first 17 seconds of powered flight, the Atlas V will climb vertically above its launch pad. Then it will begin a pitch and yaw maneuver that will place it on a trajectory towards Earth’s south pole.

Reference

Watching: First Interplanetary Launch, Vandenberg AFB Bound, AFB
NASA InSight

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