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May 6, 1999

Mars Climate Orbiter (MCO)

The MCO spacecraft experienced another quiet week of cruise operations, with no planned activity other than routine tasks performed by the spacecraft's onboard housekeeping sequence. Testing in preparation for the "all-stellar" mode demonstration continues in the MCO simulator. In addition, preparatory testing for a re-run of the UHF radio checkout is being conducted. This test is scheduled for next week, and will verify that the updates made to the UHF contact sequence work properly, based on lessons learned from the initial test performed in February.

Mars Polar Lander (MPL)

Mars Polar Lander also accomplished another quiescent week of operation. In the course of investigating an anomaly that occurred in a pre-launch system test of the landed phase, the flight team has uncovered a behavioral feature of the software system which can cause problems when performing data-intensive tasks. The team was already investigating what is now known to be another manifestation of this behavior which occurred during the first science instrument checkout on Apr. 7. An investigation by the flight software group has been initiated to assess the lander's susceptibility during various tasks, and to establish the extent of the impact on both MCO and Stardust as well, due to the commonality in the software systems of the three (MPL, MCO, Stardust) vehicles.

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