Mars Climate Orbiter Mission Status
15 Sep 1999
(Source: Jet Propulsion Laboratory)
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NASA's Mars Climate Orbiter spacecraft completed its final maneuver Wednesday, Sept. 15, to adjust its flight path for arrival at Mars on Sept. 23. The orbiter fired its maneuvering engines at 9:40 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time for 15 seconds.
"After traveling 670 million kilometers (416 million miles) during the last nine months, Mars Climate Orbiter is now ready for its most dramatic moment, the orbit insertion burn," said Dr. Sam Thurman, the flight operations manager for the orbiter at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "The spacecraft is on a course that will pass just 193 kilometers (120 miles) over the north pole of Mars, at which point it will fire its main engine to brake into orbit."
Tomorrow, flight controllers will send the spacecraft a set of commands that will automatically execute the orbit insertion maneuver on September 23. These commands will be updated on September 20 to allow for a planned fine-tuning of the desired orbit-insertion flight path.
The orbiter is now 2.24 million kilometers (1.39 million miles) from Mars, traveling at a speed of 3.3 kilometers per second (7,380 miles per hour).
Mars Climate Orbiter will study the weather and climate of Mars and act as a communications relay for the Mars Polar Lander when that spacecraft arrives at the red planet on December 3.
The Mars Climate Orbiter and Mars Polar Lander missions are managed by JPL for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, DC. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA.