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FWD: Mars Polar Lander Mission Status

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  • Frits Westra
    MEDIA RELATIONS OFFICE JET PROPULSION LABORATORY CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION PASADENA, CALIF. 91109.
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 23, 1999
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      MEDIA RELATIONS OFFICE
      JET PROPULSION LABORATORY
      CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
      NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION
      PASADENA, CALIF. 91109. TELEPHONE (818) 354-5011
      http://www.jpl.nasa.gov

      Mars Polar Lander Mission Status
      January 21, 1999

      Mars Polar Lander successfully completed its first
      trajectory correction maneuver at 4:30 a.m. Pacific Standard Time
      today to fine-tune its flight path to Mars. The maneuver, which
      lasted 3 minutes, removed a small bias in the lander's trajectory
      that was introduced at launch to send the third stage of the
      Delta II rocket, which was trailing behind the spacecraft, past
      Mars rather than directly toward the planet. The maneuver also
      corrected minor injection errors caused by the spacecraft's
      liftoff from Earth on January 3, 1999.

      The spacecraft was turned 180 degrees in preparation for the
      maneuver, in which it fired four of its eight thrusters. After
      the burn was completed, Mars Polar Lander automatically slewed
      itself back to its standard orientation for the early cruise
      phase of its journey to Mars. In this configuration, the
      lander's solar arrays, which are shaped like gull wings, are
      pointed about 20 degrees away from Earth to allow the spacecraft
      to generate enough solar power for onboard operations and still
      support daily communications with Deep Space Network ground
      stations. The maneuver changed the spacecraft's velocity by
      about 16 meters per second (35.8 miles per hour).

      Mars Polar Lander remains in excellent health. Three
      science investigations aboard the spacecraft - the Mars Volatiles
      and Climate Surveyor instrument package, Mars Descent Imager and
      Light Detection and Ranging (Lidar) instrument - are currently
      turned off. The flight team will conduct an initial health check
      of the Mars Volatiles and Climate Surveyor's meteorology
      instrument package on or about February 3.

      Today the spacecraft is 5.2 million kilometers (3.2 million
      miles) from Earth, receding at a velocity of 3.3
      kilometers per second or 11,800 kilometers per hour
      (7,322 miles per hour).

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      Frits Westra -- fwestra@...

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