At 1:28 p.m. EST, the MAVEN spacecraft began its 10-month journey to Mars orbit, launching aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The Atlas V and the spacecraft have performed flawlessly in the early hours after launch. MAVEN’s “gull wing” solar arrays have deployed, sending power to the instruments onboard, and mission ground support personnel have confirmed the receipt of telemetry, indicating that communications with the spacecraft are proceeding as expected.
“Thus far the MAVEN spacecraft has flown and operated as we had all hoped and planned,” said David F. Mitchell, MAVEN project manager. “There are some big events coming up in the days ahead but I couldn’t be more pleased with how the journey has started.”