National Aeronautics and Space Administration Logo
Follow this link to skip to the main content NASA Banner
Solar System Exploration
News & Events
Odyssey Returning to Service After Taking Precaution
Odyssey Returning to Service After Taking Precaution
18 Sep 2007
(Source: Jet Propulsion Laboratory)

The team operating NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter is returning the healthy spacecraft to usual activities this week after a precautionary status of reduced activity that the orbiter entered on Sept. 14.

Odyssey properly put itself into the standby "safe mode" in response to a root cause that engineers have diagnosed as the same cause as for two previous safe mode entries, in 2005 and 2006. When the onboard flight computer could not get a routine response from the system that monitors the spacecraft's orientation, a fault protection feature in the software told the flight computer to reboot and put the spacecraft into the standby status. In reality, the attitude-control task was operating just fine, but a messaging interface system got stuck, leaving the flight computer to assume the task was no longer running.

While in safe mode, Odyssey stayed in communication, with its main antenna pointed toward Earth and its solar panels facing the sun.

The ground team is returning the spacecraft to full service step by step. The spacecraft is expected to point its instruments and UHF relay antenna toward Mars today (Tuesday), to resume relaying communications from the Mars rovers on Wednesday, and to resume using its own science instruments on Thursday. The rovers are communicating directly with Earth while Odyssey is unavailable for relay.

"The spacecraft reacted exactly as it was designed to for this condition," said Odyssey Mission Manager Robert Mase of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. "The onboard autonomy ensures that the spacecraft keeps itself in a safe state and allows time for the ground teams to respond with the established contingency procedures that were designed for these circumstances."

JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology, manages the Mars Odyssey project for the NASA Science Mission Directorate. The orbiter reached Mars in 2001 and is partway through its second mission extension.

Media contact: Guy Webster, 818-354-6278

News Archive Search  Go!
Show  results per page
 
 
Awards and Recognition   Solar System Exploration Roadmap   Contact Us   Site Map   Print This Page
NASA Official: Kristen Erickson
Advisory: Dr. James Green, Director of Planetary Science
Outreach Manager: Alice Wessen
Curator/Editor: Phil Davis
Science Writer: Autumn Burdick
Producer: Greg Baerg
Webmaster: David Martin
> NASA Science Mission Directorate
> Budgets, Strategic Plans and Accountability Reports
> Equal Employment Opportunity Data
   Posted Pursuant to the No Fear Act
> Information-Dissemination Policies and Inventories
> Freedom of Information Act
> Privacy Policy & Important Notices
> Inspector General Hotline
> Office of the Inspector General
> NASA Communications Policy
> USA.gov
> ExpectMore.gov
> NASA Advisory Council
> Open Government at NASA
Last Updated: 20 Sep 2007