Four months after closing centers because of the coronavirus pandemic, NASA has been able to keep its highest priority missions on track, even as others have suffered delays.
On June 10, NASA IV&V participated in the Mars 2020 Safety and Mission Success Review (SMSR) where final mission assurance conclusions were provided, culminating in an affirmative “Go” from NASA IV&V, providing concurrence for the project to move forward to the Flight Readiness Review (FRR) in July. This milestone is the culmination of years of hard work by JPL and NASA IV&V to confirm Mars 2020 mission readiness for launch currently set for July 30.
The launch of NASA’s next Mars rover mission has been delayed to no earlier than July 30 because of a launch vehicle processing issue, the latest in a series of slips that have now used up nearly half of the available launch opportunities for the mission.
SpaceNews talks with the director of NASA’s Mars Exploration Program and the project scientist for the soon-to-launch Mars 2020 Perseverance rover mission about the status of the mission, next steps in robotic exploration, and how it leads to sending humans to Mars.
A new study found that costs on major NASA projects continued to grow in the last year, and warned some of the agency’s highest profile programs will likely face additional cost overruns and delays in the near future.