NASA and United Launch Alliance (also known as ULA) have announced that Perseverance and Ingenuity have been mated with the Atlas V 541 rocket that will carry them into space. Perseverance, the latest rover developed by NASA, and Ingenuity, an advanced helicopter, will explore the Red planet in an attempt to find traces of life.
The two spacecraft have been placed inside an encapsulated payload fairing, which was placed on the top of the Atlas V 541 rocket. With one core booster, four solid rocket booster and a Centaur rocket stage, the rocket has an impressive size of 60 meters of 197 feet.
Assembling the stacks
A final stacking procedure took place at the Vertical Integration Facility, which is a part of the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Space Launch Complex. The payload and rocket arr housed inside the SLC 41 and will remain there until the time for launch will arrive.
Before launch, a final check-up will take place as crane operators will position the payload to facilitate electrical connections. The payload and rocket will undergo several tests that seek to test the performance of the stack as a complete unit.
Testing before launch
Besides the technical tests, a series of mission-specific tests will also take place in the following weeks. After all the pre-flight requirements are met, the stack will be transported to a launchpad with the help of a customized railway that will ensure a swift and secure journey.
The seven instruments mounted on the Perseverance rover offer the opportunity to conduct a variety of experiments that seek to find traces of ancient life on the planet. During the first two years after landing, the rover will explore areas around the landing site while Ingenuity will roam the skies to offer more data about the Martian weather.
According to the current schedule, the launch should take place early in the morning on July 30.