The cruise phase begins after the spacecraft separates from the rocket, soon after launch. The spacecraft departs earth at a speed of about 24,600 mph (about 39,600 kph). The pilgrimage to will certainly take around seven month and around 300 million mile (480 million kilometers). During that journey, designers have several methods to readjust the spacecraft’s trip path, to make sure its speed and also direction are ideal for come at Jezero Crater on The an initial tweak to the spacecraft’s flight path happens about 15 days after launch.

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Track the Spacecraft"s Flight

Eyes on Perseverance
: gain a “live look” in ~ the 2020 spacecraft in flight, through this interaction visualization based on real data. See the full experience ›

The trip to

Engineers on earth keep near tabs top top the mission throughout cruise. Significant activities include:Checking spacecraft health and also maintenanceMonitoring and also calibrating the spacecraft and also its onboard subsystems and also instrumentsPerforming attitude correction turns (slight spins to store the antenna spicy toward planet for communications, and to store the solar panels pointed towards the sun for power)Conducting navigation activities, such together trajectory correction maneuvers, to determine and correct the flight path and also train navigators prior to atmospheric entry. The last 3 correction maneuvers space scheduled during approach.

The mission is timed for launch as soon as Earth and are in good positions family member to each other for landing ~ above The is, it takes much less power to take trip to at this time, contrasted to various other times as soon as Earth and are in different positions in their orbits. As Earth and orbit the sunlight at different speeds and distances, once around every 26 months, they room aligned in a means that permits the many energy-efficient pilgrimage to


Perseverance’s path to
: one illustration that the path the 2020/Perseverance spacecraft bring away to obtain to Full image and also caption ›

Fine-Tuning the trip Path to

During the cruise phase, designers have five methods (plus one backup maneuver and one contingency maneuver) to readjust the flight path. During these trajectory convey maneuvers, engineers will calculate the spacecraft’s location and also command eight thrusters top top the cruise stage to fire because that a specific amount that time needed to tweak the path.The maneuvers are an extremely important since years of mindful planning led to choice of Jezero Crater as the landing site on, and also fine-tuning the flight path ensures the the spacecraft will get in the setting at just the right spot come land within Jezero crater.The final 45 work leading up to the landing consist of the method phase. This phase primarily entails navigation tasks and getting the spacecraft prepared for Entry, Descent and Landing. This is once the last three trajectory mediate maneuvers might be performed, if needed.
Date (subject to change)Trajectory mediate ManeuversActivity
Aug. 14, 202015 work after launchTCM-1Point spacecraft towards, fine-tune its trip path after ~ launch.
Sept. 30, 202062 job after launchTCM-2
Dec. 18, 202062 days prior to landingTCM-3To make certain the spacecraft travel at the ideal speed and direction to arrive at the correct ar at the peak of the Martian atmosphere prior to landing.
Feb. 10, 20218.6 days before landingTCM-4Refine trip path.
Feb. 16, 20212.6 days before landingTCM-5
Feb. 17, 20211.6 days before landingTCM-5XBackup maneuver, if needed.

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Feb. 18, 20219 hours prior to landingTCM-6Contingency maneuver, if needed. Last opportunity to adjust where the spacecraft will get in the atmosphere.