NASA Delays Mars Rover Launch Again 07/06 07:18
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) -- NASA has delayed the launch of its newest Mars
rover yet again -- to the end of July at the earliest -- this time for a rocket
If the Perseverance rover isn't on its way by mid-August, it will have to
wait until 2022 when Earth and Mars are back in proper alignment, costing NASA
close to $500 million for the delay alone.
Managers are now targeting no earlier than July 30 for a liftoff from Cape
Canaveral, eating up half of the monthlong launch window. The good news is that
NASA is trying to eke out more time in this summer's launch opportunity, now
lasting until at least Aug. 15. The chance to fly to Mars comes up only every
It is NASA's most ambitious Mars mission yet, totaling around $3 billion.
Besides seeking signs of past microscopic Martian life, Perseverance will
gather rocks and soil for eventual return to Earth.
Rocket maker United Launch Alliance needs extra time to deal with a liquid
oxygen sensor line that showed questionable readings during a recent practice
countdown, officials said Tuesday. Previous technical concerns -- including
crane trouble at the pad -- bumped the launch from the original July 17 to the
20th and then 22nd.
Perseverance will still attempt a touchdown next February in an ancient
river delta at Mars, regardless of when it launches.
The United Arab Emirates and China, meanwhile, still are pressing ahead with
launches this month or next of Mars spacecraft. Russia and the European Space
Agency had to bow out, delaying their Mars rover until 2022 because of delayed
spacecraft testing and travel limitations due to the coronavirus pandemic.