ULA - Atlas V / InSight Mission poster.
May 5, 2018
Image above: A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket lifts off from Space Launch Complex 3 at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, carrying NASA's Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport, or InSight, Mars lander. Liftoff was at 4:05 a.m. PDT (7:05 a.m. EDT). Photo credit: NASA.
Liftoff of InSight
Booster ignition and liftoff of the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket at 7:05 a.m. EDT (4:05 a.m. PDT), from Space Launch Complex 3 at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, carrying NASA’s InSight spacecraft. The rocket is on its way, carrying NASA’s Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport (InSight) to begin its six month voyage to Mars.
InSight will be the first mission to look deep beneath the Martian surface studying the planet's interior by measuring its heat output and listen for marsquakes. InSight will use the seismic waves generated by marsquakes to develop a map of the planet’s deep interior. The resulting insight into Mars’ formation will provide a better understanding of how other rocky planets, including Earth, were created.
Image above: This artist's concept shows the InSight lander, its sensors, cameras and instruments. Image Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech.
Mars Cube One Will Launch with NASA’s InSight Spacecraft
Hitching a ride with InSight is NASA’s technology experiment known as Mars Cube One (MarCO), a separate mission of its own. Designed and built by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, 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 provide real-time communication relay to cover the entry, descent and landing of InSight on Mars.
After InSight has separated from the Atlas V Centaur second stage, MarCO will launch one at a time from dispensers mounted on the aft bulkhead carrier of the second stage.
Image above: An artist’s rendering of the twin Mars Cube One (MarCO) spacecraft as they fly through deep space. Image credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech.
"It’s an exciting day for NASA. The agency’s twin Mars Cube One (MarCO) mini-spacecraft have launched from dispensers mounted on the aft bulkhead carrier of the Atlas V Centaur second stage. Designed and built by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, MarCO 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 provide real-time communication relay to cover the entry, descent and landing of InSight on Mars".
For more information about MarCo, visit http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/cubesat/missions/marco.php.
JPL manages InSight for NASA's Science Mission Directorate. InSight is part of NASA's Discovery Program, managed by the agency's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. The InSight spacecraft, including cruise stage and lander, was built and tested by Lockheed Martin Space in Denver. NASA's Launch Services Program at the agency's Kennedy Space Center in Florida provides launch management. United Launch Alliance of Centennial, Colorado, is NASA's launch service provider of the Atlas 5 rocket. A number of European partners, including France's Centre National d'Études Spatiales (CNES) and the German Aerospace Center (DLR), are supporting the InSight mission. In particular, CNES provided the Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure (SEIS) instrument, with significant contributions from the Max Planck Institute for Solar Systems Research (MPS). DLR provided the Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package (HP3) instrument.
For more information about InSight, visit: https://mars.nasa.gov/insight/ and
InSight Mars Lander: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/insight/main/index.html
United Launch Alliance (ULA): https://www.ulalaunch.com/
Images (mentioned),Video, Text, Credits: ULA/NASA/Bob Granath/Linda Herridge.