First Mars Exploration Rover Arrives at KSC to Begin Preparation for Launch
George H. Diller
NASA Kennedy Space Center
Feb. 24, 2003
The first of two Mars Exploration Rovers, MER-2 arrived at the Kennedy Space Center today from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. The cruise stage, aeroshell and lander for the Mars Exploration Rover-1 mission also arrived today. This same flight hardware for the MER-2 rover arrived January 27, however this rover is scheduled to arrive at KSC around March 10.
The Boeing Delta II vehicle for the first launch of the two launches scheduled on May 30 is planned for erection on the pad at Space Launch Complex 17 beginning April 18. The Delta for the second launch on June 25 will begin erection activities on May 1. Each spacecraft will receive a MER-A or MER-B designation once they arrive at the pad.
While at KSC, each of the two rovers, the aeroshells and the landers will undergo a full mission simulation. All of these flight elements will then be integrated together. After spin balance testing, each spacecraft will be mated to a solid propellant upper stage booster that will propel the spacecraft out of Earth orbit. Approximately ten days before launch they will be transported to the launch pad for mating with their respective Boeing Delta II rockets.
The rovers will serve as robotic geologists to seek answers about the evolution of Mars, particularly for a history of water.
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