MAVEN Set for Launch Monday, NASA Schedules Public Viewing Events

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Atlas V with MAVEN aboard on the launch pad at Cape Canaveral. (Credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett)

Atlas V with MAVEN aboard on the launch pad at Cape Canaveral. (Credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett)

LATEST UPDATES:

Monday Morning

The launch teams are starting the steps to load about 50,000 gallons of liquid oxygen into the first stage of the Atlas V. The lines and tanks have been chilled to accept the minus-297 degree propellant. About 26,000 gallons of refined kerosene, or RP-1, flowed into the first stage fuel tanks during the wet dress rehearsal a couple of weeks ago. Since kerosene doesn’t have to be kept cold the way the cryogenic liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen fuel for the Centaur do, the fuel stayed inside the Atlas tank.

Weather Forecast Remains 60 Percent “Go”
November 17, 2013 – 9:45 AM EST

Forecasters from the U.S. Air Force 45th Weather Squadron continue to predict a 60 percent chance of favorable weather for the launch of NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft at 1:28 p.m. EST Monday from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Space Launch Complex 41. MAVEN is scheduled to liftoff atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V at the beginning of a two hour launch window. Teams are working no technical issues and the countdown is targeted to pick up from the T-6 hour, 20 minute mark at 6:28 a.m. Monday.

NASA Public Viewing Events

Five NASA centers in Washington, Maryland, Mississippi, Alabama and West Virginia will host events and activities Monday, Nov. 18, for the public to view the launch of the agency’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft and learn about its mission.

MAVEN, which is set to launch at 1:28 p.m. EST from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, will take critical measurements of the Martian upper atmosphere to help scientists understand climate change over the Red Planet’s history.

Here is a schedule of events at NASA facilities around the country:

(All times Eastern)

11 a.m. — NASA’s Stennis Space Center, near Bay St. Louis, Miss.: The INFINITY Science Center located on I-10 Exit 2, will host a live viewing of the launch, science project discussions with featured speakers, conduct a parachute design and launch demonstration and a Mars habitat competition. Visitors also may have their photographs taken on a simulated Martian surface. For more information, call 228-533-9025, ext. 311.

Noon — NASA Headquarters, Washington: Launch coverage will be available in the James Webb Auditorium at 300 E St. SW. Jim Garvin, chief scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt Md., will discuss Mars exploration plans and answer questions from the public. MAVEN materials and other handouts will be available.

Noon — NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. and the U.S. Space & Rocket Center will host a pre-launch panel discussion with representatives from the Marshall Center titled “Deep Space Exploration: Mars and Beyond.” There will also be educational activities for children. The event will be held in the U.S. Space & Rocket Center’s Davidson Center Digital Theater located at One Tranquility Base, Huntsville, Ala., 35805. The event is open to the public and there will be signs directing the public where to park. The launch will be shown live in the theater at 1:28 p.m. For more information, contact Shannon Ridinger at 256-544-3774.

1 p.m. — NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.: Goddard’s Visitors Center auditorium located off ICESat Road (formerly Soil Conservation Road) will show the launch and have available a planetary scientist to answer visitors’ questions.  For more information, contact the Goddard newsroom at 301-286-8955.

1 p.m. — NASA’s Independent Verification and Validation (IV&V) Facility, 5000 NASA Blvd. 5th Floor, Fairmont, W.Va: Events will include educational activities for students and educators before and after launch coverage.  Take either elevator to the 5th floor.  Media should use the South entrance. For more information contact Jennifer Neptune at: 304-367-8262.

For more details on MAVEN launch and mission activities, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/maven