An illustration of the United Launch Alliance Atlas V launch vehicle en route to Mars with the Mars 2020 spacecraft in tow.
Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Earlier this week, the Perseverance rover, atop the ULA Atlas V 541 rocket, completed its journey to the launchpad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. At a max speed of up to 4 miles per hour, the entire system slowly and steadily made the one-third of a mile trip to the launch pad in approximately 30 minutes, according to NASA. And there it waits for the go for launch. So when is the launch and how can you watch the Mars rover launch live?

When is the Mars 2020 rover launch?

The Mars 2020 Mission has a multiweek launch window that opens on July 30 and lasts through Aug. 15. The earlier opportunity for the launch of the Mars 2020 Mission is at 7:50 am EDT. This launch could be delayed due to weather conditions and a host of other variables.
As of Tuesday, the U.S. Air Force 45th Weather Squadron forecasted an “80% chance of favorable weather conditions for the launch. The primary weather concerns for launch are cumulus and thick clouds.”

SEE: Key details: NASA’s mission to Mars (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

How to watch the 2020 Mars rover launch online

There are a host of ways to witness the Mars 2020 Mission launch from smart devices and more. NASA’s live launch coverage will begin on Thursday, July 30 at 7 am (EDT). This coverage will be available across NASA’s official social media platforms including NASA TV on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitch, Daily Motion, and Theta.TV. The post-launch news coverage will begin shortly after takeoff. NASA tentatively has this news conference scheduled for July 30 at 11:30 am. (EDT). Post-launch coverage will be available via NASA TV on YouTube.

SEE: NASA’s Mars 2020 Rover: Everything you need to know about Perseverance and the mission (TechRepublic)

How to watch the 2020 Mars rover launch in person

Depending on a person’s proximity to Cape Canaveral (and perhaps their penchant for space launches), it’s also possible to watch some NASA launches in person by purchasing Launch Transportation Tickets, according to archived NASA reports online.

There are currently general admission tickets available for the Mars 2020 Mission launch, according to a Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex representative. (General admission adult tickets cost $57 and general admission children’s tickets are $47 each.) These tickets will give individuals access to the south lot to view the launch.

SEE: Mars 2020 Mission: NASA engineer discusses Martian entry, descent, and landing (TechRepublic)

If all goes as planned, the Mars 2020 Mission spacecraft, with the Perseverance rover in tow, is scheduled to land on the Red Planet in February of next year. Perseverance will build on the foundation set by its roving predecessors as the search for microbial life continues. This particular mission will also feature the debut of the Mars Helicopter, officially known as Ingenuity. The small craft has been engineered with a pair of rotors to fly through the Red Planet’s thin atmosphere.