Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Mars mission given "go" for Saturday launch

NASA's Mars mission was given the "go" today to proceed toward a Saturday launch.

The launch team is working toward a liftoff at 10:02 a.m. Saturday on an Atlas V rocket from Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The launch window extends until 11:45 a.m.

No significant vehicle or spacecraft issues are being worked, NASA officials said.

The weather for launch day looks OK with a 70 percent chance conditions will cooperate. The main concerns, at this point, are cumulus clouds or low clouds.

NASA and United Launch Alliance have until Dec. 18 to launch the Mars Science Lab. After that, NASA would have to delay the launch two years until Earth and Mars once again were optimally aligned for an eight-month interplanetary journey to the red planet.

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