Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Major Mars Express Scheduled Orbit Change Achieved

Date:
December 31, 2003
Source:
European Space Agency
Summary:
The first European mission to Mars registered another operational success. The Mars Express flight control team at ESOC prepared and executed another critical manoeuvre, bringing the spacecraft from an equatorial orbit into a polar orbit around Mars.

Dec. 30, 2003 -- This morning, at 09:00 CET, the first European mission to Mars registered another operational success. The Mars Express flight control team at ESOC prepared and executed another critical manoeuvre, bringing the spacecraft from an equatorial orbit into a polar orbit around Mars.

All commands were transmitted to Mars Express via ESA's new Deep Space Station in New Norcia, Australia. This morning, the main engine of Mars Express was fired for four minutes to turn the spacecraft into a new direction, at a distance of 188 000 kilometres from Mars and about 160 million kilometres from Earth. On 4 January 2004, this new polar orbit will be reduced even further.

Fascinating ESA science mission ahead

In a polar orbit, Mars Express can now start to prepare its scientific observation mission as planned, working much like an 'Earth-observation satellite' but around Mars. From the second half of January 2004, the orbiter's instruments will be able to scan the atmosphere, the surface and parts of the subsurface structure of Mars with unmatched precision. The MARSIS radar, for example, will be able to scan as far as four kilometres below the surface, looking for underground water or ice. The High Resolution Stereo Camera will take high-precision pictures of the planet and will begin a comprehensive 3D cartography of Mars. Also, several spectrometers will try to unveil the mysteries of Martian mineralogy and the atmosphere, as well as influences from the solar wind or seasonal changes.

Mars Express closes in on Beagle 2 landing area

The change of orbit by the Mars Express orbiter will allow increasingly closer looks at the Beagle 2 landing site, which measures 31 kilometres by 5 kilometres. In this narrowing polar orbit, the orbiter will fly directly over the landing site at an altitude of 315 kilometres on 7 January 2004, at 13:13 CET. The reduced distance, the ideal angle of overflight and originally foreseen communication interfaces between the 'mother' and 'baby' will increase the probability of catching signals from the ground.

Ongoing European co-operation and international support

The Mars Express flight control team of ESA in Darmstadt, Germany, is in regular contact with its colleagues of the Beagle 2 team and with NASA ground stations. In addition, ESA receives regular support or offers of support from the Jodrell Bank radio telescope in the UK, Westerborg telescope in the Netherlands, Effelsberg telescope in Germany and Stanford University's telescope in the USA. ESA is grateful for this spirit of dynamic international co-operation on its first mission to Mars.

Next status report on the Mars Express mission

Comprehensive information is available on ESA'S Mars special pages at http://mars.esa.int


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by European Space Agency. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

European Space Agency. "Major Mars Express Scheduled Orbit Change Achieved." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 December 2003. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/12/031231082908.htm>.
European Space Agency. (2003, December 31). Major Mars Express Scheduled Orbit Change Achieved. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/12/031231082908.htm
European Space Agency. "Major Mars Express Scheduled Orbit Change Achieved." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/12/031231082908.htm (accessed April 20, 2014).

Share This



More Space & Time News

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

SpaceX's Dragon Spacecraft Captured by International Space Station

SpaceX's Dragon Spacecraft Captured by International Space Station

Reuters - US Online Video (Apr. 20, 2014) SpaceX's unmanned Dragon spacecraft makes a scheduled Easter Sunday rendezvous with the International Space Station. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Easter Morning Delivery for Space Station

Raw: Easter Morning Delivery for Space Station

AP (Apr. 20, 2014) Space station astronauts got a special Easter treat: a cargo ship full of supplies. The SpaceX company's cargo ship, Dragon, spent two days chasing the International Space Station following its launch from Cape Canaveral. (April 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
A Hoax? Cosmetics Company Wants To Brighten The Moon

A Hoax? Cosmetics Company Wants To Brighten The Moon

Newsy (Apr. 19, 2014) FOREO, a Swedish cosmetics company, says it wants to brighten the moon to lower electricity costs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station

Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station

AP (Apr. 18, 2014) On it's second attempt this week, The Space X company launched Friday from Cape Canaveral to ferry supplies to the International Space Station. (April 18) 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