[meteorite-list] Mars Odyssey Update - October 23, 2001
From: Ron Baalke <baalke_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Thu Apr 22 09:48:13 2004
MEDIA RELATIONS OFFICE
JET PROPULSION LABORATORY
CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION
PASADENA, CALIFORNIA 91109. TELEPHONE (818) 354-5011
Mars Odyssey Mission Status
October 23, 2001
The United States returned to Mars tonight as NASA's 2001
Mars Odyssey fired its main engine at 7:26 p.m. Pacific time
and was captured into orbit around the red planet.
At 7:55 p.m. Pacific time, flight controllers at the Deep
Space Network station in Goldstone, Calif., and Canberra,
Australia, picked up the first radio signal from the
spacecraft as it emerged from behind the planet Mars.
"Early information indicates everything went great," said
Matt Landano, the Odyssey project manager at NASA's Jet
Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena. "The orbit insertion burn
went off just as we planned and we will now begin the three-
month long aerobraking phase."
Through tonight and the early morning hours tomorrow, the
flight team will be analyzing the information they are
receiving from Odyssey. This will help them evaluate the
health and status of the spacecraft and determine the precise
Tonight's firing of the main engine slowed the
spacecraft's speed and allowed it to be captured by Mars'
gravity into an egg-shaped elliptical 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. By using atmospheric drag on the spacecraft,
flight controllers will reduce the long, highly elliptical
orbit into a shorter, 2-hour circular orbit of approximately
400 kilometers (about 250 miles) altitude for the mission's
science data collection.
"Orbit insertion is our single most critical event during
the mission, and we are glad it's behind us," said David A.
Spencer, Odyssey's mission manager at JPL. "But we cannot
rest on our laurels. The aerobraking phase will be a
demanding, around-the-clock operation, and it requires the
flight team to react as the atmosphere of Mars changes."
The aerobraking phase is scheduled to begin on Friday,
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, Houston, Texas, operate the science instruments.
Lockheed Martin Astronautics, Denver, Colo., is the prime
contractor for the project, and 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 operations.
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Received on Wed 24 Oct 2001 12:18:53 AM PDT