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NASA narrows design for rocket to launch samples off of Mars

29 April 2020 Stephen Clark

After years of studies, test-firings and a survey of U.S. industry in preparation for launch of a Mars Sample Return mission in 2026, NASA has settled on a solid-fueled design for a miniature rocket with a first-of-its-kind purpose: Launching a payload from Mars for a trip back to Earth.

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Ariane 5 launches two satellites on 7-year voyage to Mercury

21 October 2018 William Harwood

A powerful European Ariane 5 rocket blasted off from French Guiana late Friday and boosted a pair of satellites into space for a seven-year plunge into the inner solar system, a voyage requiring seven planetary flybys to slow down enough in the sun’s gravitational clutches to slip into orbit around hellish Mercury.

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Webb telescope’s launch delayed until 2020

28 March 2018 Stephen Clark

Blaming a slew of technical snags and “avoidable errors,” NASA officials said Tuesday that the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope, already years behind schedule, will be delayed to 2020, potentially pushing the mission’s development cost above an $8 billion cap mandated by Congress.