Mission Timeline Overview

InSight Mission Timeline

InSight launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on May 5, 2018. After a six-month cruise, InSight landed on Mars on Nov. 26, 2018, at 11:52:59 a.m. PT (2:52:59 p.m. ET) and began Mars surface operations.

The phases of the InSight mission include:

  • Preparing for the mission includes pre-project planning, science definition and instrument selection, landing site selection, assembly and testing, and delivery of the spacecraft to Vandenberg Air Force Base.

  • InSight lifted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base on an Atlas V-401 on May 5, 2018, in the pre-dawn hours, at 4:05 a.m. PT (7:05 a.m. ET). This was the first interplanetary launch from the west coast.

  • The time between InSight’s launch and arrival at Mars is called the cruise phase of the mission. This part of the trip takes about six months.

  • The approach phase begins about 60 days before landing with a series of checkouts.

  • The entry, descent, and landing phase is InSight’s final plunge through the Martian atmosphere. It lasts about six minutes and delivers the lander safely to the surface.

  • After a safe landing, InSight deploys its instruments in preparation for surface operations. The lander begins its day-to-day science activities about 30 days into the mission.

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