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MAVEN Mars Mission: Launch Preps on Hold

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Government shutdown puts MAVEN launch preps on hold

Without funding to pay for numerous programs and research, engineers began shutting down work on a $671 million Mars science orbiter at the Kennedy Space Center on Tuesday, halting critical preparations ahead of the mission's narrow interplanetary launch window in November.

The launch window, which opens Nov. 18 and extends to Dec. 7, is restricted by the locations of Earth and Mars. Launch opportunities to the red planet only come once every 26 months.

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