NASA Shifts Mars InSight Mission Launch Date to May 2018; John Grunsfeld Comments

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NASAInSightNASA has rescheduled the launch date of a study to measure Mars’ deep interior to May 2018 after the agency canceled the initial spacecraft liftoff in December due to a vacuum leak in a science instrument.

The Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport spacecraft will undergo a redesign in support of the target launch date on May 5, 2018, to explore the deep interior of Mars, NASA said Wednesday.

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory will redesign and evaluate the new vacuum enclosure for InSight’s science instrument and France’s national space agency CNES will lead instrument level integration and testing functions.

NASA and CNES expect the InSight spacecraft to arrive at Mars on Nov. 26, 2018.

“The quest to understand the interior of Mars has been a longstanding goal of planetary scientists for decades. We’re excited to be back on the path for a launch,” said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator for NASA’s science mission directorate.

Lockheed Martin delivered the Mars rover to its launch site in California in December 2015 prior to the discovery of the vacuum leak.

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