Launching: Mars Science Laboratory

Mars Science Laboratory (aka “Curiosity”) successfully left Earth this morning. The launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida was perfect:

After a powered flight of almost 12 minutes, the second stage Centaur engine shut down as the vehicle reached a parking orbit at altitudes between 165 and 324 km above Earth. After coasting in orbit for around 21 minutes, the Centaur stage fired again — this time for about 8 minutes. The second burn lifted the vehicle out of Earth orbit and sent it on its way to Mars.

Mars Science Laboratory then separated from the Centaur engine. It has sent back signals indicating that everything on board is exactly as it should be. The eight-month journey to Mars is now underway. Fade in the music! (Incidentally, one of my favorite pieces).


Earlier this year I had a chance to say good-bye to Curiosity a few days before she left the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California. (Read my account here). These videos show what happened since then.

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Journalist and media professional currently based in Los Angeles, California. Focusing on science and technology.