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1998 Mars Climate Orbiter Arrives at NASA's Kennedy Space Center for Final Launch Prepearations
1998 Mars Climate Orbiter Arrives at NASA's Kennedy Space Center for Final Launch Prepearations
14 Sep 1998
(Source: Jet Propulsion Laboratory)

PASADENA, CALIF. 91109. TELEPHONE (818) 354-5011

NASA's Mars Climate Orbiter arrived at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, FL, to begin final preparations for a December 10 launch. The spacecraft was delivered Friday, Sept. 11 aboard an Air Force C-17 cargo plane from the Lockheed Martin Astronautics plant in Denver, CO, NASA's industrial partner for the 1998 Mars Surveyor Climate Orbiter and Polar Lander missions.

The orbiter's scientific instruments will map the Martian surface and profile its atmosphere. The spacecraft will support communications and data relay with the Mars Polar Lander, which will set down near the southern polar cap to dig for traces of water below the surface. The orbiter will also monitor and measure in detail the planet's surface for one Martian year, equal to two Earth years.

The spacecraft has been delivered to the Spacecraft Assembly and Encapsulation Facility-2 (SAEF-2), where it will be prepared for its nine-month journey to Mars. Among the processing activities to be performed are functional tests of the science instruments, basic spacecraft subsystems and final checks of the spacecraft's communications system. On Nov. 30, the orbiter and its upper-stage booster will be transported to Launch Complex 17, Pad A, for mating with the Boeing Delta II launch vehicle.

The spacecraft is 2.1 meters (7.6 feet) high, 2 meters (6.4 feet) deep and 1.6 meters (5.4 feet) wide. At liftoff, it will weigh 638 kilograms (1,418 pounds) with its fuel. Power will be provided by a single large solar array which is about 6 meters (18.6 feet) long and 2 meters (6.8 feet) across. The eight-day primary launch period to achieve an optimum cruise phase and Mars planetary encounter will begin with an instantaneous launch window at 1:56 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on December 10. There are two instantaneous windows each day, followed by a secondary, six-day launch period beginning on December 18.

For additional information about spacecraft pre-launch activities, contact the Kennedy Space Center news room at 407- 867-2468 or the Jet Propulsion Laboratory Media Relations Office at (818) 354-5011.

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