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March 11, 1999

Mars Climate Orbiter (MCO)

Mars Climate Orbiter was successfully commanded into its new baseline attitude control mode and configuration late in the evening of Tuesday, Mar. 9. The spacecraft has now assumed the original planned (pre-launch) attitude and configuration for cruise, the only exception being an operational simplification in with the solar array orientation is fixed relative to the spacecraft bus (power analysis of the rest of cruise identified a suitable fixed orientation, alleviating the need to periodically reposition the array for sufficient power output). Subsequent observation of the vehicle shows it to be healthy and operating nominally in all respects.

Due to the difficulties experienced by the STARDUST spacecraft during its in-flight checkout of the "all-stellar" attitude determination and control mode, also intended for use by MCO, the all-stellar checkout and transition for MCO has been delayed pending further troubleshooting of STARDUST.

Mars Polar Lander (MPL)

The first of two command sets for MPL's transition into its long-range attitude control mode was successfully transmitted to the spacecraft early this morning. These commands updated the fault protection software configuration so that it is now consistent with the new operational strategy. The second set of comamnds which will complete this transition will be uplinked next week, following the execution of Trajectory Correction Maneuver (TCM-2) of Monday, Mar. 15. As with the orbiter, once these activities are accomplished MPL will be operating essentially acccording to the flight team's original pre-launch plan for cruise.

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