The Insight mission is launching the spacecraft to Mars on May 5th aboard the Atlas V rocket by ULA.

Would it have been possible to launch this mission using a SpaceX Falcon 9 Block 3/4/5 (expendable or reusable, either)?

  • $\begingroup$ Yes, it would've been possible. $\endgroup$
    – Dragongeek
    Apr 8 '18 at 8:15

Yes, however the decision to launch the mission on Atlas V was made years ago, and it is impossible to change now that the launch is less than a month away.

InSight is estimated to weigh 360 kg. Falcon 9 has a payload capacity of 4,020 kg to Mars. The most likely reason for choosing Atlas V over F9 is most likely the history of the mission. InSight's launch vehicle was most likely chosen before SpaceX was qualified to launch NASA science missions. You will be able to see SpaceX launch a NASA science mission with the upcoming TESS launch later this month.


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