NASA will launch its next Mars rover on July 22, after a delay. It’s all due to a contamination problem with the ground support equipment.
Mars rover Perseverance was supposed to be launched on its journey towards the Red Planet on July 20, 2020. However, a problem raised while engineers were working to encapsulate the rover to the Atlas V rocket. The rocket was built by United Launch Alliance.
NASA stated: “NASA and United Launch Alliance are now targeting Wednesday, July 22, for the launch of the Mars 2020 mission due to a processing delay encountered during encapsulation activities of the spacecraft. Additional time was needed to resolve a contamination concern in the ground support lines in NASA’s Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility (PHSF).”
Because of this issue, this is the second delay for the Mars rover Perseverance. The mission was supposed to set off on July 17, and now it will happen on July 22 because of these problems.
The rover and its Atlas V rocket are right now, and ULA has managed to perform a “wet-dress rehearsal” successfully – that’s a test that included fueling the Atlas V rocket. Things are a bit more complicated when it comes to the launch window, though.
NASA has time until August 11 to send the Perseverance rover to Mars, in order to reach the surface in February 2021. If not, NASA will have to wait another 26 months – that’s until 2022 – when the orbit of Earth and the orbit of Mars will be aligned, and the mission would be possible.
After the initial delay, NASA stated that Perseverance still has a lot of time in its current launch window. We’re waiting for more info on that.