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Atlas 5 launches MRO
Posted: Fri, Aug 12, 2005, 3:09 PM ET (1909 GMT)
Atlas 5 launch of MRO (ILS) After two previous launch attempts were delayed, an Atlas 5 successfully launched NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) mission Friday morning. The Atlas 5 401 lifted off from Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral at 7:43 am EDT (1143 GMT), after a trouble-free countdown. MRO separated from the booster's upper stage 58 minutes later, after being placed on a Mars-bound trajectory. The launch took place after two previous attempts were delayed: a Wednesday attempt was scrubbed the afternoon before to investigate a potential issue with the rocket's gyros, while a second attempt was scrubbed shortly before launch Thursday because of a software glitch. MRO will arrive at Mars in March 2006, entering orbit around the planet. The spacecraft will provide high-resolution imagery of the planet's surface for scientific purposes, as well as planning for future lander missions.
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