NASA delays unmanned Mars
mission for two years
Dec 5 (RIA Novosti) The head of US space agency NASA has said
the Mars Science Laboratory's (MSL) unmanned mission to the
red planet will be delayed for two years until the fall of
2011 due to technical difficulties.
launch of the Rover had been scheduled for October 2009, but
NASA said on its website that "testing and hardware challenges
must be addressed to ensure mission success," and that
the next launch opportunity after 2009 would be in 2011.
for 2009 would require us to assume too much risk, more than
I think is appropriate for a flagship mission," Michael
Griffin told journalists.
delay, the second in two years, is expected to see an increase
in the Mars Science Laboratory's costs of $400 million to
a total of $2.3 billion.
McCuistion, director of the Mars Exploration Program at NASA
headquarters in Washington, said: "We will not lessen
our standards for testing the mission's complex flight systems,
so we are choosing the more responsible option of changing
the launch date."
MSL is due to attempt a precision landing on Mars for the