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Video Credit: United Launch Alliance
Cameras mounted on the Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket show the fiery display in space for NASA̵7;s Mars 2020 Perseverance rover after taking off from the Florida Coast Space.
The Atlas 5 rocket took off from cushion 41 at the Cape Canaallel Air Force Station at 7:50 a.m. EDT (1150 GMT) on July 30, launching a nearly hour-long climb that culminated in the March 2020 landing of a trajectory which leaves Earth and goes to the solar system.
The rocket accelerated the Mars 2020 spacecraft, which contained the Perseverance rover, at a speed of nearly 25,000 mph, or 40,000 kilometers per hour, to begin cruising the six-and-a-half-month probe planning on the Red Planet. Rover perseverance is due to land on Mars on February 18, 2021, to begin a mission to collect samples for eventual return to Earth, studying Martian geology and weather, and looking for signs of ancient life.
Read our full story for details on the mission.
The video above begins with a view from a camera down in the first scene of the Atlas 5, showing the 197-meter (60-meter) rocket climbing away from the 41st cushion with about 2.3 million pounds of propulsion from its kerosene RD main engine -180 and four solid rocket boosters.
Arched over the Atlantic Ocean east of Cape Canaava, the Atlas 5 surpassed the speed of sound in 35 seconds and fired four of its solid rocket boosters just before the two-minute flight sign. Moments later, the Atlas 5 showed off its aerodynamic nose cone, along with a structure created to absorb loads during the first few minutes of launch.
The first-stage kerosene-powered RD-180 fired for nearly four and a half minutes before being abandoned, allowing the upper Centaur rocket phase to accelerate NASA’s Perseverance rover on a rescue trajectory toward Mars.
Follow Stephen Clark on Twitter: @ StephenClark1.