Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Mars Climate Orbiter Space Probe Is Launched, Begins 9.5-Month-Long Journey To Red Planet

Date:
December 14, 1998
Source:
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Summary:
After a one-day delay, NASA's Mars Climate Orbiter blasted off launch pad 17A at Cape Canaveral Air Station, FL, at 1:45 p.m. Eastern Standard Time today and hurtled skyward on a 9-1/2- month flight to Mars to embark on a study of the planet's climate and current water resources.

After a one-day delay, NASA's Mars Climate Orbiter blasted off launch pad 17A at Cape Canaveral Air Station, FL, at 1:45 p.m. Eastern Standard Time today and hurtled skyward on a 9-1/2- month flight to Mars to embark on a study of the planet's climate and current water resources. The 24-hour launch delay will not change the spacecraft's arrival date at Mars on September 23, 1999, or alter its primary mapping mission.

The spacecraft shot through a breezy, cloud-laced mid- afternoon sky atop a Delta II launch vehicle on the second day of the primary launch period with new onboard software to guard against overcharging the spacecraft's battery. The orbiter team tested the new software using the Mars Polar Lander spacecraft at Kennedy Space Center, FL, as a testbed. Mars Polar Lander, which will join Mars Climate Orbiter at Mars in December 1999, is currently being processed for launch on January 3, 1999.

Sixty seconds after liftoff, the four solid-rocket boosters were jettisoned, two at a time, followed by first-stage separation and second-stage engine ignition. The second-stage burn lasted approximately 11 minutes, 22 seconds, placing the spacecraft in a low-Earth orbit at about 189 kilometers (117 miles) above Earth's surface.

Third-stage separation occurred at approximately 2:26 p.m. EST, followed by a burn of the third-stage engine for 88 seconds. Once out of Earth's gravitational grasp, the orbiter was jettisoned from the third stage using the spacecraft's onboard thrusters to remove all remaining motion. Four minutes later, the spacecraft's solar arrays were unfolded and pointed toward the Sun for power. NASA's Deep Space Network complex near Canberra, Australia, acquired the orbiter's signal at 2:45 p.m. EST. Spacecraft controllers at Lockheed Martin Astronautics in Denver, CO, and at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA, are now assessing the spacecraft's initial performance.

Now on its way to Mars, the Climate Orbiter will rely on its low-gain and medium-gain antennas for communications with Earth during the first half of the journey to Mars. Ground-controllers will track the spacecraft 24 hours a day during the first week of cruise, then reduce tracking time to 12 hours a day using 34- meter (112-foot) antennas of the Deep Space Network. Twelve days into flight, one of the spacecraft's science instruments, the Pressure Modulator Infrared Radiometer, will be powered on and acclimated to the environment of space.

The first trajectory correction maneuver to remove errors in the spacecraft's flight path introduced at the time of launch will be performed 10 days into the cruise phase, on December 21, 1998. That thruster firing will be the largest and longest of all four trajectory correction maneuvers, lasting about 15 to 20 minutes and changing the spacecraft's velocity by about 30 meters per second (67 miles per hour).

Mars Climate Orbiter and Mars Polar Lander are the second set of spacecraft to be launched in NASA's long-term program of robotic exploration of Mars.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "Mars Climate Orbiter Space Probe Is Launched, Begins 9.5-Month-Long Journey To Red Planet." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 December 1998. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/12/981214080229.htm>.
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. (1998, December 14). Mars Climate Orbiter Space Probe Is Launched, Begins 9.5-Month-Long Journey To Red Planet. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/12/981214080229.htm
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "Mars Climate Orbiter Space Probe Is Launched, Begins 9.5-Month-Long Journey To Red Planet." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/12/981214080229.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Space & Time News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

This Week @ NASA, July 25, 2014

This Week @ NASA, July 25, 2014

NASA (July 25, 2014) Apollo 11 celebration, Next Giant Leap anticipation, ISS astronauts appear in the House and more... Video provided by NASA
Powered by NewsLook.com
Space to Ground: Coming and Going

Space to Ground: Coming and Going

NASA (July 25, 2014) One station cargo ship leaves, another arrives, aquatic research and commercial spinoffs. Questions or comments? Use #spacetoground to talk to us. Video provided by NASA
Powered by NewsLook.com
How A Solar Flare Could Have Wrecked Earth's Electronics

How A Solar Flare Could Have Wrecked Earth's Electronics

Newsy (July 25, 2014) Researchers say if Earth had been a week earlier in its orbit around the sun, it would have taken a direct hit from a 2012 coronal mass ejection. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: ISS Cargo Ship Launches in Kazakhstan

Raw: ISS Cargo Ship Launches in Kazakhstan

AP (July 23, 2014) The Progress 56 cargo ship launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan Wednesday. NASA says it will deliver cargo and crew supplies to the International Space Station. (July 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins