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Looking like the mouth of an enormous great white shark, a white and blue Russian cargo plane is opened to reveal the large Centaur upper stage engine that will blast the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter to Mars.  The large cylindrical engine is covered in a protective white tarp and is being carefully marshaled off the plane and down a bright yellow ramp by a team of technicians.  The bright blue sky, streamed with wispy clouds is in the background along with a line of brilliant green trees.
Full Res JPG (200 kB)

Bringing the Blast: Upper Stage Rocket Arrives at Kennedy Space Center

A second stage Centaur engine is delivered from the mouth of a Russian cargo plane on June 6, 2005 at Kennedy Space Center. This powerful engine will precisely direct the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter to the red planet. The engine will be joined with the stage one Atlas V booster in the coming weeks.

The mission is on schedule for a launch window that begins Aug. 10. Launch will be from Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

Credit: NASA

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