Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Mission Status NASA

With one very busy year remaining before launch, the team preparing NASA’s next mission to Mars has begun integrating and testing the spacecraft’s versatile payload. Possible launch dates from Cape Canaveral, Florida, for NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter begin Aug. 10, 2005. The spacecraft will reach Mars seven months later to study the surface, subsurface and atmosphere with the most powerful instrument suite ever flown to the red planet. “Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter is a quantum leap in our spacecraft and instrument capabilities at Mars,” said James Graf, the mission’s project manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. “Weighing 2,180 kilograms [4,806 pounds] at launch, the spacecraft will be the largest ever to orbit Mars.