Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Mars Polar Lander Successfully Launched

Date:
January 5, 1999
Source:
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Summary:
Mars Polar Lander, launched successfully on the first day of the launch period, is equipped with a robotic arm to dig beneath the layered terrain of the Martian polar region and two microprobes to crash into the planet's surface and conduct two days of soil and water experiments up to 1 meter (3 feet) below the Martian surface.

Mars Polar Lander -- due to become the first spacecraft to set down near the edge of Mars' southern polar cap -- pierced through a blustery, cloud-covered Florida sky at 3:21 p.m. Eastern Standard Time today atop a Delta II launch vehicle from Cape Canaveral Air Station's Launch Complex 17B. The spacecraft, launched successfully on the first day of the launch period, is equipped with a robotic arm to dig beneath the layered terrain of the Martian polar region and two microprobes to crash into the planet's surface and conduct two days of soil and water experiments up to 1 meter (3 feet) below the Martian surface.

Sixty-six seconds after liftoff, the Delta's four solid-rocket strap-on boosters were jettisoned. Firing of the main first-stage engine lasted approximately 4 minutes, 24 seconds. Eight seconds later, the first stage was discarded, and 5.5 seconds later the second stage ignited. Four and a half seconds after that, the nose cone surrounding the lander was jettisoned. The second-stage burn lasted 6 minutes, 44 seconds and placed the spacecraft into a low-Earth orbit at an altitude of 191 kilometers (119 miles). The spacecraft coasted over the Indian Ocean for approximately 23 minutes before the second stage engine fired briefly a second time.

The third stage fired for 88 seconds at 3:57 p.m. EST to propel the spacecraft out of Earth's gravity and on its way to Mars. At 4:03 p.m. EST, Mars Polar Lander separated from the third stage. A set of solar panels located on the spacecraft's outer cruise stage were deployed shortly thereafter and pointed at the Sun. At 4:19 p.m. EST, the lander's signal was acquired by a 34-meter-diameter (112-foot) antenna of NASA's Deep Space Network in Canberra, Australia.

Mars Polar Lander's interplanetary cruise to Mars will take it more than 180 degrees around the Sun in what is called a Type 2 trajectory, allowing the spacecraft to target a landing zone close to Mars' south pole at 73 to 76 degrees south latitude.

Throughout the cruise, the spacecraft will communicate with Earth using its X-band transmitter and medium-gain horn antenna mounted on the cruise stage. During the first 30 days of flight, the spacecraft will be tracked 10 to 12 hours per day. Quiet phases of the trip will require only four hours of tracking time each day.

The spacecraft is scheduled to fire its thrusters in a trajectory correction maneuver January 18. That maneuver is designed to remove a targeting bias intended to prevent the third stage of the Delta II rocket from following in the lander's flight path and colliding with Mars, as well as any small launch injection errors. That maneuver is expected to take approximately 5 minutes to execute.

Mars Polar Lander is the second of two spacecraft launched to the red planet during the December 1998-January 1999 Mars launch opportunity. Mars Climate Orbiter was launched December 11, and is scheduled to reach Mars next September 23. Onboard Mars Polar Lander are two microprobes developed as the Deep Space 2 project under NASA's New Millennium Program. The Deep Space 2 probes will smash into the Martian surface as a test of new technologies for future planetary descent probes.


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 Polar Lander Successfully Launched." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 January 1999. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/01/990105080301.htm>.
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. (1999, January 5). Mars Polar Lander Successfully Launched. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/01/990105080301.htm
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "Mars Polar Lander Successfully Launched." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/01/990105080301.htm (accessed September 19, 2014).

Share This



More Space & Time News

Friday, September 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Boeing, SpaceX to Send Astronauts to Space Station

Boeing, SpaceX to Send Astronauts to Space Station

AFP (Sep. 17, 2014) NASA selected Boeing and SpaceX on Tuesday to build America's next spacecraft to carry astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) by 2017, opening the way to a new chapter in human spaceflight. Duration: 01:13 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
East Coast Treated To Rare Meteor Sighting

East Coast Treated To Rare Meteor Sighting

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) Numerous residents along the East Coast reported seeing a bright meteor flash through the sky Sunday night. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Space Race Pits Bezos Vs Musk

Space Race Pits Bezos Vs Musk

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 16, 2014) Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' startup will team up with Boeing and Lockheed to develop rocket engines as Elon Musk races to have his rockets certified. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
NASA Picks Boeing and SpaceX to Ferry Astronauts

NASA Picks Boeing and SpaceX to Ferry Astronauts

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) NASA is a giant step closer to launching Americans again from U.S. soil. It has announced it has picked Boeing and SpaceX to transport astronauts to the International Space Station in the next few years. (Sept. 16) 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