NASA's Mars rover is on its way after a successful launch Thursday morning from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.
The Atlas 5 carrying the nuclear dune buggy lifted off on time at 7:50 a.m. The spacecraft was released on a Mars-bound trajectory nearly an hour later.
There was a communication issue with the spacecraft shortly after launch. When telemetry was received, it appeared the spacecraft had entered a protective “safe mode.” When a spacecraft enters safe mode, all but essential systems are turned off until it receives new commands from mission control. NASA is working the problem.
Mars 2020 will deliver the Perseverance rover on the Martian surface next February. That rover will collect samples of Martian rock for return to Earth by two later missions under development by NASA and the European Space Agency.
WFIT's Rick Glasby has details about the mission in this video: