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Space History Photo: Mars Global Surveyor Preparations

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The upper booster of the Mars Global Surveyor being prepared for launch. (Image credit: NASA)

In this historical photo from the U.S. space agency, the Mars Global Surveyor upper stage booster assembly is being encased in the Delta II payload fairing at Launch Complex 17A on Cape Canaveral Air Station, Oct. 29, 1996.

Liftoff of the first in a series of U.S. missions to Mars was just days away, with launch preparations proceeding on schedule. Mars Global Surveyor later entered Mars orbit and began a highly successful mission taking high resolution photographs of the Martian surface and making other measurements.

Each weekday, SPACE.com looks back at the history of spaceflight through photos (archive).

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NASA Archives
NASA Archives

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is the U.S. government agency in charge of the civilian space program as well as aeronautics and aerospace research. Founded in 1958, NASA is a civilian space agency aimed at exploring the universe with space telescopes,  satellites, robotic spacecraft, astronauts and more. The space agency has 10 major centers based across the U.S. and launches robotic and crewed missions from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral Florida. It's astronaut corps is based at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. To follow NASA's latest mission, follow the space agency on Twitter or any other social channel, of visit: nasa.gov