[meteorite-list] Fwd: NASA'S 2001 MARS ODYSSEY SPACECRAFT POISED TO ARRIVE AT MARS
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Date: Thu, 18 Oct 2001 15:20:31 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: NASA'S 2001 MARS ODYSSEY SPACECRAFT POISED TO ARRIVE AT MARS
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Headquarters, Washington October 18, 2001
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
NASA'S 2001 MARS ODYSSEY SPACECRAFT POISED TO ARRIVE AT MARS
After traveling 200 days and logging more than 460
million kilometers (about 285 million miles), NASA's 2001
Mars Odyssey spacecraft will fire its main engine for the
Oct. 23 and put itself into orbit around the Red Planet.
Odyssey was launched April 7 from Cape Canaveral Air Force
Station, Fla. Other than our Moon, Mars has attracted more
spacecraft than any other object in the Solar System, and no
other planet has proved as daunting to success. Of the 30
missions sent to Mars by three countries over 40 years, less
than one-third have been successful.
"The spacecraft, ground system and flight team are ready for
Mars orbit insertion," said Matthew Landano, Odyssey project
manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
"We uplinked the sequence of commands that control the orbit
insertion on Oct. 15. Now we will closely monitor the
spacecraft's progress as it approaches Mars and executes the
orbit insertion burn."
To enter orbit, Odyssey's propellant tanks, the size of big
beach balls, must first be pressurized, plumbing lines
heated, and the system primed before 262.8 kilograms (579.4
pounds) of propellant is burned in exactly the right
direction for just under 20 minutes.
Flight controllers at JPL will see the main engine burn begin
a few seconds after 10:26 p.m. EDT on Oct. 23. The spacecraft
will pass behind the planet 10 minutes later and will be out
of contact for about 20 minutes. The burn is expected to end
at 10:46 p.m. EDT, but controllers will not receive
confirmation until the spacecraft comes out from behind Mars
and reestablishes contact with Earth at about 11 p.m.
The firing of the main engine will brake the spacecraft,
slowing and curving its trajectory into an egg-shaped orbit
around the planet. In the weeks and months ahead, the
spacecraft will repeatedly brush against the top of the
atmosphere in a process called aerobraking to reduce the
long, 19-hour elliptical orbit into a shorter, 2-hour
circular orbit of approximately 400 kilometers (about 250
miles) altitude desired for the mission's science data
NASA's latest explorer carries several scientific instruments
to map the chemical and mineralogical makeup of Mars: a
gamma ray spectrometer that includes a neutron spectrometer
and a high-energy neutron detector; a thermal-emission
imaging system; and a Martian radiation environment
The 2001 Mars Odyssey Arrival press kit is available online
at available online at
JPL manages the 2001 Mars Odyssey mission for NASA's Office
of Space Science, Washington, D.C. Principal investigators at
Arizona State University in Tempe, the University of Arizona
in Tucson, and NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston operate
the science instruments. Lockheed Martin Astronautics of
Denver, the prime contractor for the project, developed and
built the orbiter. Mission operations are conducted jointly
from Lockheed Martin and from JPL, a division of the
California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. NASA's
Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., will provide
aerobraking support to JPL's navigation team during mission
- end -
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Received on Thu 18 Oct 2001 04:42:55 PM PDT