AmericaSpace Video Feature: Arrival of MAVEN’s Atlas V


Video courtesy of AmericaSpace / Wired4Space

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla — United Launch Alliance’s ULA Mariner, a ship owned by Foss Marine, delivered the Atlas V 401 rocket which will be used to power NASA’s Mars Atmosphere Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) mission on its way to Mars. Launch is currently scheduled to take place on Nov. 18 of this year. The ULA Mariner unloaded its precious cargo just before 10 a.m. EDT Monday, Aug. 26. AmericaSpace attended this event and watched as the booster’s first stage and Centaur Upper Stage were offloaded from the vessel.

While this event might seem mundane to those outside the space industry, it actually is not one which is attended. Indeed, even veterans have only witnessed a handful of boosters being offloaded from the ULA Mariner.

ULA Mariner Atlas V first stage United Launch Alliance rocket Cape Canaveral photo credit Jeffrey J. Soulliere AmericaSpace
The sheer size of the Atlas booster provides a sense of the interior capacity of the ULA Mariner. Photo Credit: Jeffrey J. Soulliere / AmericaSpace

“I think I might have been here and seen this five or six times,” said SpaceFlight Now’s Justin Ray.

NASA and ULA had officials on hand to detail what was taking place on this day, the importance of it, and what it means in terms of NASA’s MAVEN mission.

“The last time I had the opportunity to see the Atlas arrive was for the Mars Science Laboratory mission. Unfortunately, I was out of town and was unable to see it. So this makes the first time I’ve actually witnessed this taking place,” said NASA’s Launch Director for the space agency’s Launch Services Program.

AmericaSpace photo Atlas V Centaur Upper Stage MAVEN Mars mission Cape Canaveral photo Credit Jeffrey J. Soulliere
The Centaur Upper Stage dutifully follows the Atlas Upper Stage on its way to the Atlas Space Operations Center. Photo Credit: Jeffrey J. Soulliere

MAVEN is set to launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 41 in Florida this November. MAVEN will use the 401 configuration of the Atlas V. This version of the venerable booster has a four-meter fairing, with no solid rocket boosters and a single engine in the Centaur Upper Stage.


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One Comment

  1. Thanks for the progress report on the MAVEN mission Jason. Also, if interested, there is still time to have a name included on the spacecraft which will sample the atmosphere, gathering data on the loss of carbon dioxide, nitrogen, etc. allowing extrapolation backward to give us a picture the early Martian atmosphere. Having their name included on a space probe sent into orbit around Mars might inspire a young person to do further study of Mars, planetary exploration, engineering, . . . The MAVEN website of The University of Colorado Boulder will give all the necessary information, but immediate action is in order as I believe the end date for name submissions is 10 September. Best wishes Jason, Karol

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