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Mars Climate Orbiter Mission Status
Mars Climate Orbiter Mission Status
16 Dec 1998
(Source: Jet Propulsion Laboratory)

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Mars Climate Orbiter is in excellent health and continues to be monitored around the clock by the Deep Space Network. The orbiter flight team is currently developing the first "housekeeping" command sequence to be loaded onboard the spacecraft, which will allow the spacecraft to perform autonomous, routine subsystem checkouts and tasks without the aid of real-time commanding from the ground.

Twenty-four-hour coverage of the orbiter using the Deep Space Network will end Thursday, December 17, when the new command sequence has been activated and reduces coverage to three times per day. The onboard housekeeping sequence has been designed to run for the next four weeks, through the January 3, 1999 launch of the orbiter's sister spacecraft, Mars Polar Lander.

In addition to initiating the first onboard housekeeping routines, the flight teams at Lockheed-Martin Astronautics, Denver, and JPL are developing the parameters that will be uplinked to execute the spacecraft's first trajectory correction maneuver, scheduled for Monday, December 21. An implementation strategy has been identified which satisfies all spacecraft thermal and pointing constraints, and provides for continuous radio communication at the current 2,100 bits per second data rate throughout the maneuver.

Mars Climate Orbiter is currently 1.12 million kilometers (700,000 miles) from Earth, traveling at a speed of about 3.41 kilometers per second (7,628 miles per hour) with respect to Earth.

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