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Launch Coverage

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Launch of MRO Aboard an Atlas V Rocket
Spacecraft: Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter
Launch Vehicle: Lockheed-Martin Atlas V Rocket
Launch Location: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida
Launch Pad: Space Launch Complex 41
Launched: August 12, 2005
Launch Time: 7:43:00 a.m. EDT

The Mar Reconnaissance Orbiter and Atlas V liftoff. Image above: NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter lifts off from Florida. Image credit: NASA/KSC

Orbiting Explorer Departs for Mars
After a successful liftoff aboard NASA's first Atlas V rocket, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) began its journey to Mars. The MRO's 'cruise phase' to the planet takes 7 months, followed by 6 months spent refining its orbit using a technique known as 'aerobraking'. During the initial cruise phase, controllers test the satellite's instruments and begin preparations to slow it using the atmosphere of Mars.

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