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Mars Polar Lander Mission Status

November 19, 1999

NASA's Mars Polar Lander team has spent this week testing and training for the entry, descent and landing operations of the mission that will take place two weeks from today.

This week's test has involved a detailed simulation of the landing using the spacecraft simulator at Lockheed Martin Astronautics in Denver, Colo. Teams at JPL, Lockheed Martin Astronautics and the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) have also been practicing for the early surface mission.

The next thruster firing to adjust the spacecraft's flight path is scheduled for Nov. 30. Flight navigators have been using additional tracking data to help them calculate the spacecraft's path at it approaches Mars. The spacecraft remains in good health, and the team is not working any spacecraft problems.

Today the lander is 5.8 million kilometers (3.6 million miles) from Mars traveling at a speed of 4.86 kilometers per second (about 10,870 miles per hour) relative to the planet.

Mars Polar Lander is part of a series of missions in a long-term program of Mars exploration managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C. JPL's industrial partner is Lockheed Martin Astronautics, Denver, Colo. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, Calif.

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