Kennedy News

George H. Diller
Kennedy Space Center, Fla.

Dec. 2, 2011
Expendable Launch Vehicle Status Report
Spacecraft: Mars Science Laboratory (Curiosity)
Launch Vehicle: Atlas V-541 (AV-028)
Launch Site: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.
Launch Pad: Space Launch Complex-41
Launch Date: Nov. 26, 2011
Launch Time: 10:02 a.m. EST

NASA's Mars Science Laboratory with the Curiosity rover was launched successfully aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket on Nov. 26. The official liftoff time from Space Launch Complex-41 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station was 10:02:00.211 a.m. EST.

The Atlas booster stage, four solid rocket boosters and Centaur upper stage all performed well. Spacecraft separation from the Centaur occurred 44 minutes after launch, sending the spacecraft on a trajectory toward Mars. The cruise phase will last approximately 8 1/2 months. Arrival on the surface of the Red Planet is in August 2012.

Curiosity has 10 science instruments to search for evidence about whether Mars has had environments favorable for microbial life, including the chemical ingredients for life. The unique rover will use a laser to look inside rocks and release the gasses so that its spectrometer can analyze and send the data back to Earth.

This is the final Expendable Launch Vehicle Status Report. Further status will be provided on a regular basis at NASA's Launch Services Program website,, on Kennedy's social media sites at and, and by calling NASA Kennedy Space Center's Press Site at 321-867-2468.

Archived status reports are available at:


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