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July 1, 1999

Mars Climate Orbiter (MCO)

The MCO spacecraft experienced a quiet week of cruise operation, as the bulk of the flight team was involved in the first MPL Operational Readiness Test. The all-stellar attitude determination and control system continues to perform well since its activitation last week.

Mars Polar Lander (MPL)

Yesterday, the flight team successfully executed its first Operational Readiness Test (ORT) for the critical Entry/Descent/Landing (EDL) phase. The MPL simulator executed the proto-flight EDL master sequence over a 29 hour run spanning Tuesday (Jun. 29) and Wednesday (Jun. 30), reaching a soft landing at appproximately 14:35 PDT, with the flight team following the simulator's progress as it approached Mars and sending planned commands to the simulator at the appropriate times. The exercise concluded with the initial post-landed tracking pass and spacecraft checkout, which completed successfully 45 minutes after the simulated landing. Next week the team begins preparations for its second ORT, which will cover MPL, MCO, DS2 microprobes, and Mars Global Surveyor activities during the first few days of the lander's surface mission.

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