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April 1, 1999

Mars Climate Orbiter (MCO)

The second and final instrument checkout was successfully conducted onboard MCO last Friday (Mar. 26). In this sequence the MARs Color Imager (MARCI) acquired a series of images of bright stars for calibration purposes. These were obtained during four successive slew maneuvers performed by the spacecraft, designed to allow MARCI to observe the desired target stars. With the completion of this activity, all in-flight instrument test objectives for early cruise have been accomplished.

Mars Polar Lander (MPL)

Preparations are now complete for the first comprehensive instrument checkout activity on MPL, scheduled to occur next week. In this activity health checks will be performed for most of the lander's instruments, including the MARs Descent Imager (MARDI), Surface Stereo Imager (SSI), Robotic Arm Camera (RAC), Thermal and Evolved Gas Analyzer (TEGA), and the METeorology (MET) sensor suite.

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