NASA begins Mars 2020 spacecraft pre-launch assembly


"The first one will be very soon, in the year 2019". In addition, as part of another Moon exploration project, Russian Federation scientists will try to land spacecraft on lunar poles, President Putin said. Some sources even added that the new rover will carry a high-developed communication system to the planet which will enable to beam live and high definition video to Earth from Mars.

The Russian President said the space programme would start with an unmanned launch in 2019 - before later manned missions to explore the Red Planet.

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 president revealed the plans in an interview shown in a new documentary by Andrey Kondrashov.

Last December, U.S. President Donald Trump signed an order that directed his country's space program to send astronauts to the moon and "eventually Mars".

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"He also made Russia's essential strategy behind the mission clear, explaining that "[Russian] specialists will try to make landings on the poles, because there is reason to believe that there can be water there".

David Gruel, ATLO Manager for Mars 2020, pointed out that some parts of the spacecraft are coming from the other side of the world while others are coming from buildings on the same street as High Bay 1.

The Russian space program Roscosmos worked with the European Space Agency in the Schiaparelli EDM lander mission, in which a Russian rocket was used.

NASA hopes the mission will help to answer key questions about the potential for life on Mars.

According to NASA, Mars 2020 may only be about the size of an SUV, but its construction is a global affair with a logistical network to match.