Mars Odyssey Mission Status
January 30, 2002
NASA's Mars Odyssey spacecraft is now in its mapping orbit after
completing two maneuvers this week to fine-tune its nearly circular
orbit and prepare it for the start of the science mission.
At 12:14 p.m. Pacific Time today, Odyssey fired its thrusters for
25 seconds and decreased the velocity of the spacecraft by less
than 2 meters per second (less than 4 miles per hour).
On Monday, January 28, Odyssey fired its thrusters for 15
seconds, increasing its speed by just over 1 meter per second
(about 2.5 miles per hour).
"These small orbit trim maneuvers complement the larger
maneuvers we executed two weeks ago and tweak the orbit to get
just the right altitude and ground track coverage that we desire. The
net effect is that we move the periapsis point, the point nearest the
planet, directly over the south pole and keep it there," said
Bob Mase, Odyssey's lead navigator at NASA's Jet Propulsion
Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. "We are now in our final mapping
orbit and we don't expect to perform any additional maneuvers to
change the orbit."
Engineers are continuing to check out the spacecraft systems
and science instruments in preparation for the science mapping
mission that will begin in February. Two of the science
instruments, both neutron spectrometers that are part of the
gamma ray spectrometer suite, are currently operating and
collecting science data about the composition of the Mars surface.
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. Additional science investigators are located at the
Russian Space Research Institute and Los Alamos National
Laboratories, New Mexico. 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., has provided aerobraking support to JPL's
navigation team during mission operations.
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