Mission Timeline Overview

InSight Mission Timeline

InSight launched on May 5, 2018. This is followed by six months of cruise to Mars, arrival, and 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.