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April 29, 1999

Mars Climate Orbiter (MCO)/ Mars Polar Lander (MPL)

Both the MCO and MPL spacecraft continue to perform well in cruise. The flight team is gradually turning its focus from ongoing cruise operations to preparations for the arrival of the two spacecraft at Mars this fall.

The atttide determination and control group is nearing completion of an extensive series of tests in the MCO ground-based simulator, in preparation for an in-flight test of the "all-stellar" mode. The in-flight checkout is being delayed by one week (from May 3-7 to May 10-14) for some additional testing to first be completed, in order to ensure a smooth flight test and transition into this new mode. Another significant test activity nearing completion is stress-testing of the Mars Orbit Insertion (MOI) software and command sequence. The test team reports that, thus far, all of the MOI stress tests run in the MCO simulator have been successful in dealing with a variety of simulated sensor failures and off-nominal conditions.

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