20 Dec 2003
(Source: European Space Agency)
20 December 2003
At 11:50 CET [1050 UTC], flight controllers at ESOC confirmed the success of a crucial repointing manoeuvre, setting Mars Express on its final course for Mars Orbit Insertion.
Yesterday, in order to send Beagle 2 on its way to a Mars landing, Mars Express first had to be steered onto a collision course with the planet.
Today's manoeuvre successfully redirected the spacecraft away from Mars, back to a point 400 kilometres above the surface, where it is due to enter orbit early on Christmas Day.
IMAGE CAPTION: [http://www.esa.int/export/SPECIALS/Mars_Express/SEMUW0374OD_1.html] The Mars Express orbiter is being retargeted to avoid collision with Mars.