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NASA Set To Launch Mars Orbiter

11 August 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Officials at the U.S. space agency NASA say they will send an unmanned spacecraft to Mars today after delaying the launch one day to inspect equipment on the rocket that will take it into space.

The blast-off was postponed after problems were reported with equipment on a rocket identical to the Atlas Five rocket that will carry the 2-ton Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter into space.

Today's launch is scheduled to take place at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida between 7:54 a.m. and 9:39 a.m. local time.

After reaching Mars next March, the orbiter is designed to study whether the planet had water long enough to nurture life. Previous Mars missions have shown that water once flowed across the planet's surface.


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