MAVEN Launches Successfully

This morning shortly before 10:30 AM PST NASA’s MAVEN (Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN) spacecraft successfully launched aboard the Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral. This mission will study the Martian upper atmosphere with particular focus on the question of how the planet went from having air and water to being the dry, cold desert it is today.

Luxel built filters for two of the eight instruments aboard MAVEN: the Suprathermal and Thermal Ion Composition (STATIC) instrument which will study thermal ions and the Solar Energetic Particle (SEP) instrument which will measure solar wind. Both instruments contain free-standing Aluminum/ LUXFilm® Polyimide/Aluminum filters built by Luxel and STATIC also utilizes meshed Carbon/ Aluminum / Titanium/ Carbon filters.

It will take 10 months for MAVEN to reach Mars, and once there, it will also serve as a communications relay for NASA’s Opportunity and Curiosity surface rovers. You can learn more about the mission here.

The Atlas V rocket containing MAVEN takes off from Cape Canaveral – November 18, 2013. Photo credit: NASA

The Atlas V rocket containing MAVEN takes off from Cape Canaveral – November 18, 2013. Photo credit: NASA

NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) mission started with a smooth start and perfect dispatch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 41. The United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket stealing the 5,400-pound shuttle lifted away at 1:28 p.m. EST, the mission’s first open chance. MAVEN’s solar arrays deployed and are delivering power.

“We’re as of now around 14,000 miles far from Earth and taking off to the Red Planet at this time,” said MAVEN Project Manager David Mitchell of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.

MAVEN Principal Investigator Bruce Jakosky joined Mitchell in applauding the mission team for its drive and commitment. NASA Goddard in Greenbelt, Md., deals with the venture and provided two of the science instruments for the mission. Lockheed Martin fabricated the rocket and is in charge of mission operations. The University of California at Berkeley’s Space Sciences Laboratory gave science instruments to the mission. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., provides navigation support, Deep Space Network backing, and Electra information transfers hand-off equipment and operations. Jakosky is with the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

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