Status Report

NASA Mars Rover Opportunity Mission Status 9 Jul 2003

By SpaceRef Editor
July 10, 2003
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NASA’s Opportunity spacecraft, the second of twin Mars Exploration
Rovers, has successfully reduced its spin rate as planned and switched
to celestial navigation using a star scanner.

Prior to today’s maneuver, Opportunity was spinning 12.13 rotations
per minute. Onboard thrusters were used to reduce the spin rate to
approximately 2 rotations per minute, the designed rate for the cruise
to Mars. After the spinning slowed, Opportunity’s star scanner found
stars that are being used as reference points for spacecraft attitude.
One of the bright points in the star scanner’s first field of view was

All systems on the spacecraft are in good health. As of 6 a.m. Pacific
Daylight Time July 10, Opportunity will have traveled 6.6 million
kilometers (4.1 million miles) since its July 7 launch. The Mars
Exploration Rover flight team at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory,
Pasadena, Calif., is preparing to command Opportunity’s first
trajectory-correction maneuver, scheduled for July 18.

Opportunity will arrive at Mars on Jan. 25, 2004, Universal Time
(evening of Jan. 24, 2004, Eastern and Pacific times). The rover will
examine its landing area in Mars’ Meridiani Planum area for geological
evidence about the history of water on Mars.

Opportunity’s twin, Spirit, also continues in good health on its
cruise to Mars. As of 6 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time July 10, it will
have traveled 82.6 million kilometers (51.3 million miles) since its
June 10 launch.

JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology, manages the
Mars Exploration Rover project for NASA’s Office of Space Science,
Washington, D.C. Additional information about the project is
available from JPL at

and from Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y.,


SpaceRef staff editor.