In the Vertical Integration Facility at Space Launch Complex 41, the payload fairing containing NASA's Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft was attached to its Atlas V rocket on November 3, 2011.
The spacecraft was prepared for launch in the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center. Its components include a car-sized rover, Curiosity, which has 10 science instruments designed to search for evidence about whether Mars has had environments favorable to microbial life, including the chemical ingredients for life.
Launch of the Mars Science Laboratory aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket is planned for November 25 from Space Launch Complex 41 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
Photo credit: NASA
Note: For other pictures showing Curiosity being prepared for launch, see:
* PIA15020: Mars Science Laboratory Descent Stage
* PIA15021: Mars Science Laboratory Rover Closeout
* PIA15022: Mars Science Laboratory Powered Descent Vehicle
* PIA15023: Integrating Powered Descent Vehicle with Back Shell of Mars Spacecraft
* PIA15026: Mars Science Laboratory Cruise Stage
* PIA15027: Mars Science Laboratory Heat Shield Integration for Flight
* PIA15028: Mars Science Laboratory Stacked Spacecraft
* PIA15029: Mars Science Laboratory and Its Payload Fairing
* PIA15030: Hoisting NASA's Mars Science Laboratory Onto Its Atlas V