NASA Mars 2020 Rover (build and mission thread)


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Jim K

Launch is scheduled for: July 30, at 7:50 a.m. ET  --- two-hour launch window

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NASA’s Perseverance Rover Ready for its Ride to Mars

 

NASA’s Mars Perseverance rover is now attached to the rocket that will carry it on its seven-month journey to the Red Planet for the agency’s Mars 2020 mission.

 

On Tuesday, July 7, a team of engineers fastened the payload fairing, containing the rover and remainder of the spacecraft – the aeroshell backshell, descent stage and cruise stage – to a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V booster inside the Vertical Integration Facility (VIF) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 41 in Florida. The rocket’s upper stage and spacecraft will remain attached until about 55 minutes after launch, after which the two will separate, sending Perseverance on its solo journey to Mars.

 

With the spacecraft and booster now connected, final testing of the two – separately and together as one unit – can begin. Once those tests are complete, the rocket will leave the VIF on the morning of July 28 for its journey to the launch pad – just 1,800 feet away.

 

NASA and United Launch Alliance are now targeting Thurs., July 30, at 7:50 a.m. ET, with a two-hour window, for launch of the Mars 2020 mission. The team identified the cause of the issue with the liquid oxygen sensor line found during Wet Dress Rehearsal (WDR). A small leak was located in the weld of the line, which has been repaired and tested.

 

//snip

 

NASA

 

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Jim K

It's alive...

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Plutonium power source installed on NASA’s next Mars rover

 

The nuclear power generator for NASA’s Perseverance rover has been installed on the spacecraft atop an Atlas 5 rocket at Cape Canaveral, and mission managers gave a green light Wednesday to continue preparations for the rover’s July 30 launch toward Mars.

 

The rover’s Multi-Mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator, or MMRTG, was transferred from a preparation building to the Atlas 5 rocket’s Vertical Integration Facility, and was hoisted by crane onto a work platform near the top of the 197-foot-tall (60-meter) launcher.

 

Technicians inserted the power generator through an access door on the Atlas 5’s payload shroud, then placed the device on the aft end of the Perseverance rover through an opening on the spacecraft’s backshell, which encloses the rover and its landing system during the journey from Earth to Mars.

 

The 99-pound (45-kilogram) unit was installed onto the rover Monday, according to Mary MacLaughlin, a NASA spokesperson.

 

After connecting mounting bolts and mating electrical lines, ground crews powered up the rover using the newly-installed MMRTG.

 

//

 

A Launch Readiness Review on Monday, July 27, is expected to give approval for ULA to transfer the Atlas 5 rocket from its vertical hangar to pad 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station the following day. That will set the stage for countdown preparations and filling of the Atlas 5 rocket super-cold propellants early on July 30, when the mission has a two-hour launch window opening at 7:50 a.m. EDT (1150 GMT).

 

//snip

 

SpaceFlightNow

 

 

 

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Jim K

Less than an hour away from launch (Launch at 7:50 a.m. EDT)

 

Livestream is ... ummm ...live.

 

 

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Jim K

Successful launch and separation of Mars 2020 with the Perseverance rover and Ingenuity helicopter... it's on its way.

 

Landing on Mars on February 18, 2021.

 

 

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Jim K

...and the spacecraft is talking to mission control.  So, everything is looking good.

 

 

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Jim K

In 56 days ...

 

 

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Jim K

A quick timeline for today:

 

Live commentary of the landing starts at 2:15 p.m. EST (11:15 a.m. PST)

 

Mission controllers expect to receive confirmation that it has hit the top of the Martian atmosphere at 3:48 p.m. EST (12:48 p.m. PST) with touchdown at 3:55 p.m. EST (12:55 p.m. PST).

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DocM

🍿

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Jim K

Livestream is on.

 

In addition to the livestream that Skiver posted above...JPL has a 360 live broadcast of mission control...

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Jim K

 

Cruise stage separation...10 minutes until entry interface.

 

(Of course with the 11 minute delay all of this has already happened). 

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Jim K

About 2 minutes from entry.

 

With the 11 minute delay... Perseverance has already either landed or cratered.  

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Jim K

Atmospheric entry...

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Jim K

Parachute has deployed...

 

Heat shield has separated...

 

 

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Nick H.

Hell yeah! Touchdown!

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Jim K

Touchdown confirmed!

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+Raze

7xZq.gif

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Nick H.

Wow, they weren't kidding about that all happening so fast! It was crazy to hear them all breathing a sigh of relief when they confirmed it.

 

And we have the first pictures through already! Incredible!

HAHA!

 

"Hey, I recognise this spot. It's good!" :rofl:

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Jim K

First two images from the Perseverance rover have been downloaded (shown on the livestream).

 

Edit: Here is one.

 

 

 

 

 

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Jim K

Some images ...

 

"The descent stage holding NASA’s Perseverance rover can be seen falling through the Martian atmosphere, its parachute trailing behind, in this image taken on Feb. 18, 2021, by the High Resolution Imaging Experiment (HiRISE) camera aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. "

perseverance_descent.thumb.jpg.4eed036c066330954555ccaa91e1e954.jpg

Source and Higher Res

 

 

Taken from the crane ... appears to be right before touchdown (at least I don't think it has touched down yet). 

rover_drop.jpg.808c17d6295814c37f3155d24750822b.jpg

Source and Higher Res


 

Higher resolution/colored image from the Hazcam.

pia24430-1041.thumb.jpg.824bcc850d5def3e495965a23d8e14dc.jpg

Source

 

Also...

 

 

 

 

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Jim K

 

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NASA will hold a virtual briefing at 2 p.m. EST (11 a.m. PST) today to unveil the “How to Land on Mars” video, which will present first-of-its-kind footage the Perseverance rover captured as it touched down on the Red Planet Feb. 18. The agency also will show new images the rover took on the Martian surface.

 

Patiently awaiting for the video from the crane lowering the rover to the surface.  😃

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Jim K

This is so cool...

 

 

 

 

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Steven P.

:p 

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Jim K

Ingenuity update:

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NASA is targeting no earlier than April 8 for the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter to make the first attempt at powered, controlled flight of an aircraft on another planet. Before the 4-pound (1.8-kilogram) rotorcraft can attempt its first flight, however, both it and its team must meet a series of daunting milestones.

 

Ingenuity remains attached to the belly of NASA’s Perseverance rover, which touched down on Mars Feb. 18. On March 21, the rover deployed the guitar case-shaped graphite composite debris shield that protected Ingenuity during landing. The rover currently is in transit to the “airfield” where Ingenuity will attempt to fly. Once deployed, Ingenuity will have 30 Martian days, or sols, (31 Earth days) to conduct its test flight campaign.

 

“When NASA’s Sojourner rover landed on Mars in 1997, it proved that roving the Red Planet was possible and completely redefined our approach to how we explore Mars. Similarly, we want to learn about the potential Ingenuity has for the future of science research,” said Lori Glaze, director of the Planetary Science Division at NASA Headquarters. “Aptly named, Ingenuity is a technology demonstration that aims to be the first powered flight on another world and, if successful, could further expand our horizons and broaden the scope of what is possible with Mars exploration.”

 

Flying in a controlled manner on Mars is far more difficult than flying on Earth. The Red Planet has significant gravity (about one-third that of Earth’s) but its atmosphere is just 1% as dense as Earth’s at the surface. During Martian daytime, the planet’s surface receives only about half the amount of solar energy that reaches Earth during its daytime, and nighttime temperatures can drop as low as minus 130 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 90 degrees Celsius), which can freeze and crack unprotected electrical components.

 

To fit within the available accommodations provided by the Perseverance rover, the Ingenuity helicopter must be small. To fly in the Mars environment, it must be lightweight. To survive the frigid Martian nights, it must have enough energy to power internal heaters. The system – from the performance of its rotors in rarified air to its solar panels, electrical heaters, and other components – has been tested and retested in the vacuum chambers and test labs of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California.

 

“Every step we have taken since this journey began six years ago has been uncharted territory in the history of aircraft,” said Bob Balaram, Mars Helicopter chief engineer at JPL. “And while getting deployed to the surface will be a big challenge, surviving that first night on Mars alone, without the rover protecting it and keeping it powered, will be an even bigger one.”

 

Deploying the Helicopter

 

Before Ingenuity takes its first flight on Mars, it must be squarely in the middle of its airfield – a 33-by-33-foot (10-by-10-meter) patch of Martian real estate chosen for its flatness and lack of obstructions. Once the helicopter and rover teams confirm that Perseverance is situated exactly where they want it to be inside the airfield, the elaborate process to deploy the helicopter on the surface of Mars begins.  

 

“As with everything with the helicopter, this type of deployment has never been done before,” said Farah Alibay, Mars Helicopter integration lead for the Perseverance rover. “Once we start the deployment there is no turning back. All activities are closely coordinated, irreversible, and dependent on each other. If there is even a hint that something isn’t going as expected, we may decide to hold off for a sol or more until we have a better idea what is going on.”

 

The helicopter deployment process will take about six sols (six days, four hours on Earth). On the first sol, the team on Earth will activate a bolt-breaking device, releasing a locking mechanism that helped hold the helicopter firmly against the rover’s belly during launch and Mars landing. The following sol, they will fire a cable-cutting pyrotechnic device, enabling the mechanized arm that holds Ingenuity to begin rotating the helicopter out of its horizontal position. This is also when the rotorcraft will extend two of its four landing legs.

 

During the third sol of the deployment sequence, a small electric motor will finish rotating Ingenuity until it latches, bringing the helicopter completely vertical. During the fourth sol, the final two landing legs will snap into position. On each of those four sols, the Wide Angle Topographic Sensor for Operations and eNgineering (WATSON) imager will take confirmation shots of Ingenuity as it incrementally unfolds into its flight configuration. In its final position, the helicopter will hang suspended at about 5 inches (13 centimeters) over the Martian surface. At that point, only a single bolt and a couple dozen tiny electrical contacts will connect the helicopter to Perseverance. On the fifth sol of deployment, the team will use the final opportunity to utilize Perseverance as a power source and charge Ingenuity’s six battery cells.

 

“Once we cut the cord with Perseverance and drop those final five inches to the surface, we want to have our big friend drive away as quickly as possible so we can get the Sun’s rays on our solar panel and begin recharging our batteries,” said Balaram.

 

On the sixth and final scheduled sol of this deployment phase, the team will need to confirm three things: that Ingenuity’s four legs are firmly on the surface of Jezero Crater, that the rover did, indeed, drive about 16 feet (about 5 meters) away, and that both helicopter and rover are communicating via their onboard radios. This milestone also initiates the 30-sol clock during which time all preflight checks and flight tests must take place.

 

“Ingenuity is an experimental engineering flight test – we want to see if we can fly at Mars,” said MiMi Aung, project manager for Ingenuity Mars Helicopter at JPL. “There are no science instruments onboard and no goals to obtain scientific information. We are confident that all the engineering data we want to obtain both on the surface of Mars and aloft can be done within this 30-sol window.”

 

As with deployment, the helicopter and rover teams will approach the upcoming flight test methodically. If the team misses or has questions about an important preflight milestone, they may take one or more sols to better understand the issue. If the helicopter survives the first night of the sequence period on the surface of Mars, however, the team will spend the next several sols doing everything possible to ensure a successful flight, including wiggling the rotor blades and verifying the performance of the inertial measurement unit, as well as testing the entire rotor system during a spin-up to 2,537 rpm (while Ingenuity’s landing gear remain firmly on the surface).

 

...just a little over 117 years after the Wright Brothers first flight....

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