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Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics

Mission Timeline

MAVEN launched on November 18, 2013 (watch video of launch), and is on track to arrive at Mars on September 21, 2014. The first fuel burn will insert the spacecraft into a capture orbit with a period of 35 hours (the time it will take to make one complete orbit around Mars) and an altitude of approximately 590 kilometers. Shortly after Mars orbit insertion, a second fuel burn will place the spacecraft into its 4.5-hour period requirement for acquiring data. Three smaller burns will reduce the periapsis altitude (closest distance) of the spacecraft to approximately 150 kilometers, placing MAVEN within the required corridor and a 75° inclination elliptical science mapping orbit.

MAVEN measurements will be made from this orbit over a period of one Earth year, with five 5-day “deep dips” interspersed to sample the entire upper atmosphere. For additional information about MAVEN’s science orbit, please see: http://lasp.colorado.edu/home/maven/science/science-orbit/.

Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) will lead the mission design and will manage the mission design and navigation for MAVEN. Operational navigation is led by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).

This schedule provides thorough coverage of solar conditions, local time, latitude, and crustal magnetic configuration, and ensures that we obtain the measurements necessary to achieve all science objectives.

MAVEN launched on November 18, 2013, and is on track to arrive at Mars on September 21, 2014. (Courtesy MAVEN)

MAVEN launched on November 18, 2013, and is on track to arrive at Mars on September 21, 2014. (Courtesy MAVEN)

Where is MAVEN now?

This animation (populated with two images per day) shows the cruise trajectory of the MAVEN spacecraft, which was launched on Nov. 18, 2013. It will arrive at Mars on Sept. 21, 2014, to explore the planet’s upper atmosphere, ionosphere and interactions with the Sun and solar wind. The range and speed of MAVEN with respect to Earth, Mars and the Sun, both in metric (kilometers) and Imperial (miles) units, is displayed along with a date and the number of days until arrival at Mars.

The Sun-centered trajectory of MAVEN, shown in blue, takes 308 days to transit from Earth’s orbit in green, to Mars’ orbit in red. The movie updates at a rate of twice per day and shows the MAVEN spacecraft, Earth and Mars locations.