This mission will be launched aboard an Atlas V 401 configuration vehicle, which includes a 4m diameter payload fairing. The Atlas booster for this mission will be powered by the RD AMROSS RD-180 engine and the Centaur upper stage will be powered by a single Aerojet Rocketdyne RL10A engine.
Jim Sponnick, ULA vice president, Atlas and Delta Programs, said, “Over the last decade, ULA launch systems have successfully launched all of NASA’s missions to the red planet, including the Spirit and Opportunity rovers and most recently the Mars Science Lab mission with the Curiosity rover.”
Less than an hour into flight, spacecraft separation from the Centaur upper stage will occur over Australia, sending MAVEN on its 10-month journey to the red planet.
MAVEN will examine specific processes on Mars that led to the loss of much of its atmosphere. Data and analysis will help planetary scientists understand the history of climate change on the red planet and provide further information on the history of planetary habitability.
ULA program management, engineering, test, and mission support functions are headquartered in Denver, Colorado. Manufacturing, assembly and integration operations are located at Decatur, Alabama, and Harlingen, Texas. Launch operations are located at Cape Canaveral AFS, Florida, and Vandenberg AFB, California.