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July 21, 1999

Mars Climate Orbiter (MCO)

Preparations are nearing completion for the MCO spacecraft's third course correction, designated Trajectory Correction Maneuver-3 (TCM-3). The spacecraft will perform a 3.3 m/s burn early on the morning of July 25, targeting directly for the point at which the orbit insertion burn will begin, 60 days later on September 23. The TCM-3 command sequence is in its final stages of testing, and will be transmitted to the spacecraft on Friday (July 23).

Mars Polar Lander (MPL)

Last week the flight team completed the first preliminary Operational Readiness Test for the early surface mission, working in conjunction with the MPL and MCO simulators to simulate the first four days of the surface mission, including UHF radio contacts with the orbiter. The team is presently reviewing all of the data generated during this test from the simulators, to identify errors or potential problems that need to be remedied.

In addition, the Deep Space 2 (DS2) microprobe team participated in the first Operational Readiness Test for data relay from the probes to the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) spacecraft on Wednesday and Thursday of last week. A test sequence executed successfully on board the actual MGS spacecraft, operating the UHF-band Mars Relay (MR) radio system for the first time in over two years, and routing simulated microprobe data stored within the Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) memory buffer to the spacecraft data bus for return to Earth. Stanford University's 40 meter radio astronomy antenna also participated in this test at well. Post-processing of recorded signals is underway at Stanford this week, to provide independent confirmation that the Mars Relay system is functioning properly.

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