Skip to Main Content
The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) is launched in August 2005 by an Atlas V 401 expendable launch vehicle from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, USA. It delivers to Mars orbit a payload to conduct remote sensing science observations, identify and characterize sites for future landers, and provide critical telecom/navigation relay capability for follow-on missions. The mission is designed to provide global, regional survey, and targeted observations from a low 255 km by 320 km Mars orbit with a 3:00 P.M. local mean solar time (ascending node). During the one Martian year (687 Earth days) primary science phase, the orbiter will acquire visual and near-infrared high-resolution images of the planet's surface, monitor atmospheric weather and climate, and search the upper crust for evidence of water. After this science phase is completed, the orbiter will provide telecommunications support for spacecraft launched to Mars in the 2007 and 2009 opportunities. The primary mission ends on December 31, 2010, approximately 5.5 years after launch.