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January 23, 1999

Mars Polar Lander

The spacecraft successfully completed Trajectory Correction Maneuver (TCM-1) early Thursday morning, Jan. 21. The TCM-1 burn took place at 04:30 PST as scheduled; due to the burn geometry, the spacecraft was out of contact with Earth, as expected, for just under 20 minutes centered on the burn start time. Post-maneuver tracking of the spacecraft indicates the maneuver was executed with great accuracy, well within the allowable execution error envelope.

Earlier this week the flight team completed reconfiguring the lander's software system for early cruise. This was the last of the tasks identified the previous week as a precursor to TCM-1. On Jan. 22 the lander was commanded to slew in the direction of the Earth, a planned attitude update designed to both keep the Earth within the medium-gain radio antenna pattern and to keep the backshell surfaces near star camera "A" shadowed, preventing any reflections which might interfere with its ability to recognize a star field.

Next week the team will proceed with several diagnostic rotational maneuvers of the lander, in order to characterize the attitude envelope over which the star camera performs properly. The results of this experiment will be used in planning the lander's long-term attitude profile for the remainder of the cruise to Mars.

Mars Climate Orbiter

Mars Climate Orbiter continues to operate nominally. Given the remaining activities needed to understand the star camera performance envelope on the lander and prepare it for long-term cruise, the flight team has decided to reschedule TCM-2 on the orbiter. TCM-2 will be performed in early March, rather than the originally scheduled date of Jan. 25. During February, the Mars '98 flight team must bring its activities to a minimum, in order to allow the elements of the team shared with Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) and Stardust to focus on the MGS transition to its mapping orbit and Stardust mission launch support.

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