Status Report

Mars Odyssey Mission Status 6 Feb 2002

By SpaceRef Editor
February 6, 2002
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NASA’s Mars Odyssey spacecraft deployed its high-gain
communications antenna last night, marking a major technical
milestone prior to the beginning of the science mapping

At 7:29 p.m. Pacific Time, Tuesday, Feb. 5, mission
controllers monitored changes in the radio signal from
Odyssey, indicating that the release and deployment of the
antenna boom were proceeding as planned. The antenna boom was
deployed to its latched position with a motor-driven hinge and
locked into place as expected. The antenna’s position is
controlled with a two-axis gimbal assembly that allows the
spacecraft to communicate with Earth while the science
instruments are simultaneously collecting data of Mars.
Overnight, flight controllers checked out the gimbals, which
allow the antenna to be pointed in a variety of positions to
track Earth.

“Successful deployment of the high gain antenna paves the
way for Odyssey to achieve the real payoff of the mission, the
science data return,” said David A. Spencer, Odyssey’s mission
manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

The science instruments are expected to begin collecting
data later this month. Flight controllers first need to test
the mapping orientation of the spacecraft, in which the
instruments are pointed at Mars while the antenna tracks

The high-gain antenna is 1.3 meters (4.3 feet) in
diameter, with a parabolic shape. The antenna can transmit at
data rates as high as 110 thousand bits per second.

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.
Additional science investigators are located at the Russian
Space Research Institute and Los Alamos National Laboratories,
New Mexico. 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.

SpaceRef staff editor.