Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Longest-lived Mars orbiter is back in service

Date:
June 28, 2012
Source:
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Summary:
NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter has resumed its science observations and its role as a Mars rover's relay, thanks to a spare part that had been waiting 11 years to be put to use.

NASA's Mars Odyssey spacecraft passes above Mars' south pole in this artist's concept illustration. The spacecraft has been orbiting Mars since October 24, 2001.
Credit: NASA/JPL

NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter has resumed its science observations and its role as a Mars rover's relay, thanks to a spare part that had been waiting 11 years to be put to use.

Odyssey's flight team returned the orbiter to full service this week after a careful two-week sequence of activities to recover from a fault that put Odyssey into reduced-activity "safe" mode. Odyssey switched to safe mode when one of the three primary reaction wheels used for attitude control stuck for a few minutes on June 8, Universal Time (June 7, Pacific Time).

Engineers assessed the sticking wheel as unreliable and switched the spacecraft from that one to a spare that had been unused since before the mission's April 7, 2001, launch.

"Odyssey is now back in full, nominal operation mode using the replacement wheel," said Steve Sanders, lead engineer for the Odyssey team at Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver. Lockheed Martin collaborates with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., in operation of Odyssey, which has worked at Mars longer than any other Mars mission in history.

Observations of Mars resumed June 25 with Odyssey's Thermal Emission Imaging System and its Gamma Ray Spectrometer. As a relay, Odyssey received data from NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity June 27 and transmitted the data to Earth. Other priority activities include preparing Odyssey to serve as a communications relay for NASA Mars Science Laboratory mission.

Odyssey uses a set of three reaction wheels to control its attitude, or which way it is facing relative to the sun, Earth or Mars. Increasing the rotation rate of a reaction wheel causes the spacecraft itself to rotate in the opposite direction. The configuration in use from launch until this month combined the effects of three wheels at right angles to each other to provide control in all directions. The replacement wheel is skewed at angles to all three others so that it can be used as a substitute for any one of them. Odyssey can also use thrusters for attitude control, though that method draws on the limited supply of propellant rather than on electricity from the spacecraft's solar array.

Odyssey is managed for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington by JPL, a division the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Denver built the spacecraft. For more about the Mars Odyssey mission, visit: http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/odyssey .


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. "Longest-lived Mars orbiter is back in service." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 June 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120628150346.htm>.
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. (2012, June 28). Longest-lived Mars orbiter is back in service. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120628150346.htm
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "Longest-lived Mars orbiter is back in service." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120628150346.htm (accessed April 17, 2014).

Share This



More Space & Time News

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Baby Moon 'Peggy' Spotted In Saturn's Rings

New Baby Moon 'Peggy' Spotted In Saturn's Rings

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) A bump in the rings could be a half-mile-wide miniature moon. It was found by accident in Cassini probe images. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Americas Glimpse Total Lunar Eclipse

Americas Glimpse Total Lunar Eclipse

AFP (Apr. 15, 2014) A total lunar eclipse, the first since December 2011, took place early Tuesday morning with the Americas getting the best glimpse. Duration: 1:19 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
NASA Showcases Lunar Eclipse

NASA Showcases Lunar Eclipse

AP (Apr. 15, 2014) Star gazers in parts of North and South America got a rare treat early Tuesday morning - a total eclipse of the moon. (April 15) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Spacecrafts Could Use Urine As Fuel Source

Spacecrafts Could Use Urine As Fuel Source

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) New research says the urea from urine could be recycled for fuel. Urea is filtered out of wastewater when making drinking water. Video provided by Newsy
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