Status Report

Mars Odyssey Mission Status 30 Oct 2001

By SpaceRef Editor
October 30, 2001
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NASA’s 2001 Mars Odyssey spacecraft took its first
thermal infrared temperature image of Mars at approximately
1300 Universal time (5 a.m. Pacific time) today. The imaging
team at Arizona State University, Tempe will process the data
over the next couple of days and hopes to release the image
later this week. This morning’s image is part of the
calibration process for the thermal emission imaging system
and is designed to help determine that the imaging system is
working properly. The main science mapping mission is
expected to begin in early February 2002.

Flight controllers report the aerobraking phase is
proceeding as planned. The first aerobraking pass, when the
spacecraft slowly dips into the martian atmosphere to slow
itself down, began on schedule last Friday night. Today,
Odyssey is in its ninth pass around Mars. During its closest
approach, the spacecraft is 128 kilometers (nearly 80 miles)
above the surface and during its farthest point is 27,000
kilometers (nearly 17,000 miles) away from Mars. Currently,
Odyssey is in an elliptical orbit and aerobraking will
circularize its path during the next three months.

Following the orbit insertion last week, scientists
turned on the high-energy neutron detector and the neutron
spectrometer to check out and validate the instruments during
the course of three orbits. Both instruments functioned well.
Neutrons were successfully measured during each close pass by
the planet. Those instruments have since been turned off.

JPL manages the 2001 Mars Odyssey mission for NASA’s
Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C. Principal
investigators at Arizona State University in Tempe, the
University of Arizona in Tucson, and NASA’s Johnson Space
Center, Houston, Texas, operate the science instruments.
Lockheed Martin Astronautics, Denver, Colo., is the prime
contractor for the project, and developed and built the
orbiter. Mission operations are conducted jointly from
Lockheed Martin and from JPL, a division of the California
Institute of Technology in Pasadena. NASA’s Langley Research
Center in Hampton, Va., will provide aerobraking support to
JPL’s navigation team during mission operations.

SpaceRef staff editor.