Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter’s Launch Timeline

This is a diagram that shows the launch phases for the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.
August 12, 2005
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Many people think of lift-off as the launch, but there were actually several steps during the launch phase.

Step One
Countdown and systems checks

Step Two
Lift Off through Atlas Stage 1 Booster, which accelerated the spacecraft to supersonic speeds of about 4,500 meters per second (10,000 miles per hour)

Step Three
Booster Engine Cut Off for the Atlas Stage I Booster

Step Four
Atlas Stage I Separation from the Centaur Stage II; Atlas fell back to Earth into the Atlantic Ocean

Step Five
Main Engine Start of the Centaur Stage II

Step Six
Centaur First Burn Phase, which lasted nine-and-a-half minutes, boosted the spacecraft into a "parking orbit" in which the spacecraft and Centaur coasted for about 33 minutes between the first and second Centaur burns

Step Seven
Jettison of the Payload Fairing, which fell back to Earth into the Atlantic Ocean

Step Eight
Main engine Cut Off for the Centaur First Burn

Step Nine
Centaur Second Burn Phase, which lasted about 10 minutes, accelerated the spacecraft out of Earth orbit and set it on its way to Mars

Step Ten
Main Engine Separation of the Centaur Stage II

Step Eleven
Centaur collision avoidance maneuver, which ensured that the Centaur did not get in the way of the spacecraft or assume a flight path that would cause it to eventually impact Mars

At this point, the launch phase ended, and the spacecraft continued in its cruise phase.