Earlier this week, the solar arrays that will help power MAVEN as it orbits the Red Planet underwent several successful tests inside Kennedy’s Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility (PHSF). A deployment test verified that the mechanisms of the four solar panels will release properly after the spacecraft separates from the Centaur upper stage of the spacecraft’s Atlas V rocket. A solar array illumination test verified the panels’ ability to generate power for the spacecraft. Also, a protective radome was installed over the high gain communications antenna which will relay data back to Earth via NASA’s Deep Space Network. MAVEN, for Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN, is the first spacecraft
designed to take direct measurements of the Martian atmosphere. Liftoff is targeted for Nov. 18 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.