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March 25, 1999

Mars Climate Orbiter (MCO)

The first of two comprehensive instrument checkout activities was accomplished by MCO yesterday (Weds. Mar. 24), when the Pressure Modulator Infrared Radiometer (PMIRR) was powered on for a test of its operational modes. The test was successful and the PMIRR team reported that the instrument performed well in all respects. The second checkout sequence, for the MARs Color Imager (MARCI), will be run onboard the spacecraft early tomorrow morning. In this test MCO will conduct a series of four slew maneuvers allowing MARCI to acquire images of bright target stars, providing data for calibration of the instrument's optics train and CCD detector circuitry.

Implementation of these tests was delayed by 2-3 days due to problems experienced last week during verification runs of the checkout sequences in the ground-based MCO spacecraft simulator. These problems were diagnosed early this week as being due to inappropriate use of certain simulator capabilities. The final verification runs for the PMIRR and MARCI checkout sequences were completed quickly once the simulator behavior was understood.

Mars Polar Lander (MPL)

The MPL spacecraft is performing well following Trajectory Correction Maneuver (TCM-2) last week. Post-maneuver navigation continues to indicate that the arrival coordinates achieved by the maneuver were close to the target values.

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