Douglas Isbell Headquarters, Washington, DC October 20, 1999 (Phone: 202/358-1753) RELEASE: 99-123
MARS CLIMATE ORBITER INVESTIGATION BOARD ISSUES FIRST STATEMENTMembers of the NASA review board investigating the loss of Mars Climate Orbiter began meeting this week at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Pasadena, CA, and today issued the following statement:
"We want to understand what was the root cause of this failure," said board chairman Art Stephenson, director of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, AL. "Based on that understanding, we will recommend actions the JPL/Lockheed Martin team might take regarding the Mars Polar Lander spacecraft, scheduled to land on Mars on Dec. 3."
During the first two days of discussions, the board has heard detailed reports from the mission team, including the spacecraft team and the navigation team. The board was also briefed by a JPL internal review board that was formed to find the technical cause of the loss of the orbiter as it attempted to enter orbit around Mars on Sept. 23.
The board will deliver an initial report to NASA in early November addressing recommendations related to Mars Polar Lander. Its final report, due Feb. 1, 2000, will address root cause, lessons learned and recommendations for NASA process improvement to reduce the probability of similar incidents in the future.
Mars Climate Orbiter was one of a series of missions in a long-term program of Mars exploration managed by JPL for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, DC. JPL's industrial partner is Lockheed Martin Astronautics, Denver, CO. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA.
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