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The dual sections of the Atlas V payload fairing for NASA's Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission await further processing in the airlock of the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
09.21.2011

Payload Fairing Side-by-Side

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- The dual sections of the Atlas V payload fairing for NASA's Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission await further processing in the airlock of the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The fairing will protect the spacecraft from the impact of aerodynamic pressure and heating during ascent and will be jettisoned once the spacecraft is outside the Earth's atmosphere. Curiosity has 10 science instruments to search for evidence about whether Mars has had environments favorable for microbial life, including chemical ingredients for life. Launch of MSL aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket is planned for Nov. 25 from Space Launch Complex 41 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. For more information, visit http://www.nasa.gov/msl.

Image Credit: NASA/Dimitri Gerondidakis

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