Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Mars Climate Orbiter Team Finds Likely Cause Of Loss

Date:
October 4, 1999
Source:
NASA0/Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Summary:
A failure to recognize and correct an error in a transfer of information between the Mars Climate Orbiter spacecraft team in Colorado and the mission navigation team in California led to the loss of the spacecraft last week, preliminary findings by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory internal peer review indicate.

Sept. 30, 1999 -- A failure to recognize and correct an error in a transfer of information between the Mars Climate Orbiter spacecraft team in Colorado and the mission navigation team in California led to the loss of the spacecraft last week, preliminary findings by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory internal peer review indicate.

"People sometimes make errors," said Dr. Edward Weiler, NASA's Associate Administrator for Space Science. "The problem here was not the error, it was the failure of NASA's systems engineering, and the checks and balances in our processes to detect the error. That's why we lost the spacecraft."

The peer review preliminary findings indicate that one team used English units (e.g., inches, feet and pounds) while the other used metric units for a key spacecraft operation. This information was critical to the maneuvers required to place the spacecraft in the proper Mars orbit.

"Our inability to recognize and correct this simple error has had major implications," said Dr. Edward Stone, director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "We have underway a thorough investigation to understand this issue."

Two separate review committees have already been formed to investigate the loss of Mars Climate Orbiter: an internal JPL peer group and a special review board of JPL and outside experts. An independent NASA failure review board will be formed shortly.

"Our clear short-term goal is to maximize the likelihood of a successful landing of the Mars Polar Lander on December 3," said Weiler. "The lessons from these reviews will be applied across the board in the future."

Mars Climate Orbiter was one of a series of missions in a long-term program of Mars exploration managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, DC. JPL's industrial partner is Lockheed Martin Astronautics, Denver, CO. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NASA0/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NASA0/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "Mars Climate Orbiter Team Finds Likely Cause Of Loss." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 October 1999. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/10/991004070650.htm>.
NASA0/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. (1999, October 4). Mars Climate Orbiter Team Finds Likely Cause Of Loss. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/10/991004070650.htm
NASA0/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "Mars Climate Orbiter Team Finds Likely Cause Of Loss." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/10/991004070650.htm (accessed September 30, 2014).

Share This



More Space & Time News

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Water You Drink Might Be Older Than The Sun

The Water You Drink Might Be Older Than The Sun

Newsy (Sep. 27, 2014) Researchers at the University of Michigan simulated the birth of planets and our sun to determine whether water in the solar system predates the sun. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
First Woman Cosmonaut in 17 Years Blasts Off for ISS

First Woman Cosmonaut in 17 Years Blasts Off for ISS

AFP (Sep. 26, 2014) A Russian Soyuz spacecraft carrying an American astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts, including the first woman cosmonaut in 17 years, blasted off on schedule Friday. Duration: 00:35 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Water Discovery On Small Planet Could Be Key To Earth 2.0

Water Discovery On Small Planet Could Be Key To Earth 2.0

Newsy (Sep. 25, 2014) Scientists have discovered traces of water in the atmosphere of a distant, Neptune-sized planet. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: US-Russian Crew Lifts Off for Space Station

Raw: US-Russian Crew Lifts Off for Space Station

AP (Sep. 25, 2014) A U.S.-Russian space crew has blasted off successfully for the International Space Station. The Russian Soyuz-TMA14M spacecraft lifted off from the Russian-leased Baikonur launch facility in Kazakhstan. (Sept. 25) 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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

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