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Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter
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Mission Timeline

Mission Timeline Summary

The phases of the mission include:

Pre-launch Activities 2002 - Aug. 2005 Preparation for the mission, including assembly and testing, and delivery to Cape Canaveral
Launch Aug. 12, 2005 Lift-off from Earth
Cruise Aug. 2005 - March 2006 Voyage through space to Mars
Approach March 2006 Nearing the red planet
Mars Orbit Insertion March 10, 2006 Capturing the spacecraft into orbit around Mars
Aerobraking March 2006 - Nov. 2006 Orbiter slows down in the martian atmosphere and is placed into a near polar, low altitude, circular orbit for science-data collecting; characterized upper atmospheric density
Primary Science Phase Nov. 2006 - Nov. 2008 Higher resolution observations of the atmosphere, surface and subsurface of Mars; extended coverage to identify targets of interest; landing site and relay support for Phoenix Mars Scout
Extended Science Phase Nov. 2008 - Dec. 2010 High-resolution targeted imaging of surface composition and morphology revealing potentially habitable zones; internal and external polar cap structure; subsurface ice; Mars Science Laboratory landing site support
Extended Mission 1 Dec. 2010 - Sep. 2012 Characterizing seasonal processes and their interannual variability; searching for surface changes; diversity of Mars further revealed; critical event coverage of Mars Science Laboratory landing
Extended Mission 2 Oct. 2012 - in progress Targeting new locales of interest, following up on earlier discoveries, and characterizing interannual variability in atmospheric and surface processes; relay support for Mars Science Lab and Mars Exploration Rovers

Key Facts

Launch: August 12, 2005

Launch Location: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida

Arrival: March 10, 2006

Weight: 2,180 kilograms (4,806 pounds) at launch, including fuel

Electrical Power: Solar panels

Rocket: Atlas V

Mission Duration: 2006 - Ongoing

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