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Space History Photo: Mars Global Surveyor Spacecraft

space history, mars missions
Workers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory prepare the spacecraft for transfer to the launch pad in a protective canister. (Image credit: NASA.)

In this historic photo from the U.S. space agency, Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) workers in the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility (PHSF) prepare the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft for transfer to the launch pad by placing it in a protective canister on Oct. 21, 1996.

The Surveyor spacecraft (upper) is already mated to its solid propellant upper stage booster (lower), which is actually the third stage of the Delta II expendable launch vehicle that will propel the spacecraft on its interplanetary journey to the Red Planet. Once at Launch Pad 17A on Cape Canaveral Air Station, the spacecraft and booster assembly will be stacked atop the Delta vehicle.

The Surveyor is slated for liftoff on Nov. 6, 1996 at the beginning of a 20 day launch period.

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

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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