Next NASA Mars Rover Reaches Key Manufacturing Milestone

Mars 2020 mission has begun the assembly, test and
launch operations (ATLO)
phase of its development, on track
for a July 2020 launch to Mars.

first planned ATLO activities will involve electrical
integration of flight
hardware into the mission’s descent
stage. The Mars 2020 rover, as well as its
cruise stage,
aeroshell and descent stage — a rocket-powered “sky
that will lower the rover to the planet’s surface — will
final assembly at the Spacecraft Assembly Facility
High Bay 1 at NASA’s Jet Propulsion
Laboratory in Pasadena,

better place in the world to assemble NASA’s next Mars
rover than JPL’s High
Bay 1,” said Mars 2020 Project Manager
John McNamee at JPL. “On the floor
you’ll see the components
of our spacecraft taking shape — put together by
people who
are the best in the world at what they do. And on the wall
them you will see all the logos of the historic
missions of exploration that
have also been assembled in High
Bay 1 in the past.”

Those missions include the Ranger missions to the moon (the
first time America reached out and touched the moon), the
Mariner mission to
Venus (the first spacecraft to
successfully encounter another planet) and Mars rovers.

the next year-and-a-half, engineers and technicians will
add subsystems such as
avionics, power, telecommunications,
mechanisms, thermal systems and navigation
systems onto the
spacecraft. The propulsion systems were installed earlier this
year on the cruise and descent stage main structures.

of this mission are coming from the other side of the
world, and some are
coming from just ‘down the street’ in
Pasadena, and some are coming from
literally down the street –
a couple of buildings away,” said David Gruel, ATLO
for Mars 2020 at JPL. “Right now we are working the descent
stage, and
by fall we expect to be working on the rover

Mars 2020 is
targeted for launch in July 2020 aboard an Atlas V 541 rocket
from Space Launch
Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force
Station in Florida. The rover will
conduct geological
assessments of its landing site on Mars, determine the
habitability of the environment, search for signs of ancient
Martian life, and
assess natural resources and hazards for
future human explorers. Additionally,
scientists will use the
instruments aboard the rover to identify and collect
of rock and soil, encase them in sealed tubes, and leave them
on the
surface of Mars for potential return to Earth by a
future mission to the Red

The mission will build on the achievements of the Curiosity
rover and other Mars Exploration Program missions, and offer
opportunities to
deploy new capabilities developed through
investments by NASA’s Space
Technology Program and Human
Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate, as
well as
contributions from international partners.

The Mars 2020 Project at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Pasadena, California, manages the Mars 2020 spacecraft
development for the
Science Mission Directorate at NASA
Headquarters in Washington. NASA’s
Launch Services Program at
Kennedy Space Center in Florida will manage and
oversee the
Atlas V launch service for Mars 2020.

More information about the Mars 2020 mission is at:

For more information about Mars missions:

News Media Contact

DC Agle / Andrew Good
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
818-393-9011 / 393-2433 /

Dwayne Brown
NASA Headquarters, Washington


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