Mars Polar Lander Launch from CCAS Pad 17 - KSC Video Feeds

Mars Polar Lander Launched1/03/1999 20:21:10 UTC (15:21:10 EST)

The Mars Polar Lander spacecraft launched January 3, 1999 at 20:21:10 UTC (15:21:10 EST) from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS) Space Launch Complex 17 (SLC-17) on the 1st day of its 25 day launch window. The second pad at SLC-17 was used for the lander launch to enable the quick two week turnaround from the end of the orbiter launch period. The lander will enter the Martian atmosphere directly from the hyperbolic transfer orbit at 7 km/s in Deccember 1999. The lander spacecraft will decelerate to a soft landing using a heat shield to aerobrake, a parachute, and actively guided propulsion to reduce vertical velocity to less than 2.4 m/s and horizontal velocity to less than 1 m/s at surface touchdown. The lander will be targeted to the northernmost boundary of the polar layered deposits at a high southern latitude site, between 75 degrees and 80 degrees south latitude. The surface science mission will be conducted over the course of a 3 month primary mission. The landing will occur during late spring in the southern hemisphere and extend through the early summer season. The timing of the landing is optimal for a high southern latitude site because the sun is always above the horizon during the course of the primary mission providing maximum solar insolation and a relatively benign thermal environment.

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