[meteorite-list] Mars Odyssey Resumes Work With Fresh Equipment
From: Ron Baalke <baalke_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Mon, 12 Nov 2012 16:47:55 -0800 (PST)
Long-Lived Orbiter Resumes Work With Fresh Equipment
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
November 12, 2012
Mars Odyssey Mission Status Report
PASADENA, Calif. -- The NASA Mars Odyssey orbiter has resumed duty after
switching to a set of redundant equipment, including a main computer,
that had not be used since before the spacecraft's 2001 launch.
Odyssey relayed data to Earth late Sunday that it received from NASA's
Opportunity rover on Mars using the orbiter's fresh "B-side" radio for
UHF (ultra-high frequency) communications. In plans for this week are
relay opportunities for the newest Mars rover, Curiosity, and resumption
of Odyssey's own scientific observations.
"The side-swap has gone well. All the subsystems that we are using for
the first time are performing as intended," said Odyssey Project Manager
Gaylon McSmith of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
Like many spacecraft, this orbiter carries a pair of redundant main
computers, to have a backup available if one fails. Odyssey's A-side
computer and B-side computer each have several other redundant
subsystems linked to just that computer.
Odyssey is already the longest-working spacecraft ever sent to Mars. The
side swap was initiated last week in response to months of diagnostic
data indicating that the A side's inertial measurement unit shows signs
of wearing out. This gyroscope-containing mechanism senses changes in
the spacecraft's orientation, providing important information for
control of pointing the antenna, solar arrays and instruments.
The diagnostics indicate that the A side's inertial measurement unit
still has a few months or more of useful life. The reason for switching
sides was to keep a fully functional A side available in case of any
problem on the B side in coming years that can be dealt with by
switching back to the A side temporarily for a few days or weeks.
"It is testimony to the excellent design of this spacecraft and
operation of this mission in partnership with Lockheed Martin that we
have brand-new major components available to begin using after more than
11 years at Mars," McSmith said.
JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena,
manages the Mars Odyssey project for NASA's Science Mission Directorate
in Washington. Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Denver built the
spacecraft. JPL and Lockheed Martin collaborate on operating the
The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which shares with Odyssey the
data-relay responsibility for NASA's Mars rovers, continued relay
support while Odyssey was unavailable for a few days following the side
Odyssey launched April 7, 2001, began orbiting Mars Oct. 24 that year,
began systematic science observations of Mars in early 2002, and broke
the previous record for longest-working Mars spacecraft in December
2010. Odyssey's longevity enables continued science by instruments on
the orbiter, including the monitoring of seasonal changes on Mars from
year to year, in addition to communication-relay service. For more about
the Mars Odyssey mission, visit: http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/odyssey .
Guy Webster 818-354-6278
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
guy.webster at jpl.nasa.gov
Received on Mon 12 Nov 2012 07:47:55 PM PST