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August 4, 1999

Mars Climate Orbiter (MCO)

Mars Climate Orbiter experienced an unevenful week in cruise this past week. The flight team is still evaluating telemetry data recorded during Trajectory Correction Maneuver #3 (TCM-3) on July 25, attempting to better understand the unexpected behavior of the solar array two-axis gimbal drive and electronics following completion of the TCM-3 course correction. The team will firm up its plans for an in-flight diagnostic checkout of the gimbal drive by the end of this week.

Last Friday (July 30) the flight team reviewed the results of a set of 20 "stress test" cases of the Mars Orbit Insertion (MOI) burn. The test results, covering a variety of conditions ranging from nominal spacecraft performance to near-pathological circumstances, indicated that the spacecraft could complete the burn successfully in all cases. All of the potential anomalies that the spacecraft's automated flight control and fault protection systems can recognize and respond to were simulated, with the spacecraft correctly recognizing and reacting to each one. The team unanimously agreed that the MOI test program is complete and that we are ready to proceed with flight team MOI test and training.


Mars Polar Lander (MPL)

The MPL Landing Site Certification Review was conducted today, Wednesday August 4. The review board, consisting of experts in different scientific and engineering fields from outside the flight team, unanimously endorsed the team's recommendation for a target landing area. With the endorsement of the SCR review board, the flight team will now take its recommendation forward and request NASA approval of the recommended target area and flight plan.

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