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Flight Status Report

Wednesday, 26 November 1997

Over the last two weeks, few activities other than normal aerobraking operations have occurred on the Mars Global Surveyor mission. As of today, the spacecraft has completed 49 orbits around Mars, including 13 passes through the atmosphere since the resumption of aerobraking on November 7th.

Currently, the spacecraft completes one orbit around Mars every 32.1 hours. This period of revolution represents nearly a 13-hour reduction as compared to the original 45-hour orbit that Surveyor entered upon arrival at the red planet. Predictions provided by Dan Johnston of the navigation team show that aerobraking will continue to shrink the orbit period at an average rate of about 14 minutes per orbit over the next week.

In other aerobraking related events, the atmospheric science team reports an increased presence of dust in the Martian atmosphere in the southern hemisphere. This situation will be closely monitored over the next few weeks because global dust storms have the potential to cause large variations in atmospheric pressure at aerobraking altitudes.

After a mission elapsed time of 384 days from launch, Surveyor is 187.60 million miles (301.91 million kilometers) from the Earth and in an orbit around Mars with a high point of 26,040 miles (41,907 km), a low point of 76.7 miles (123.5 km), and a period of 32.1 hours. The spacecraft is currently executing the P49 command sequence, and all systems continue to perform as expected. The next status report will be released on Friday, December 12th.

Happy Thanksgiving from the Mars Surveyor flight operations team!

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Status report prepared by:

Office of the Flight Operations Manager
Mars Surveyor Operations Project
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
California Institute of Technology
Pasadena, CA 91109
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