We're within touching distance of the commencement of Perseverance's voyage to Mars. But the launch has been pushed back a couple of days. In a recent update, NASA and United Launch Alliance announced that they are now targeting Wednesday, July 22 for the rover's launch. A two-hour window will be available at 9:35 AM ET at the Space Launch Complex-41 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
The initial plan was to launch the rover on July 17 but that was later delayed to July 20 due to ground system equipment issues. Now the latest update pushes the launch window back by two more days to July 22.
According to NASA, the latest change in dates was caused by a "processing delay encountered during encapsulation activities of the spacecraft" due to the time "needed to resolve a contamination concern in the ground support lines in NASA’s Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility." The space agency clarified that the ATLAS V rocket and the rover are mission-fit.
Perseverance is slated to touch down at the Jezero Crater on Mars somewhere in February 2021, which will make it the first spacecraft in the history of planetary exploration with the ability to accurately re-target its point of touch down during the landing sequence. Once there, the rover will begin exploring ancient habitable conditions, potential microbial life, and more on the red planet.