Odyssey Adjusts Its Attitude a Little Ahead of Arrival at Mars Oct 23
Following a s final planned course correction, NASA's 2001 Mars Odyssey spacecraft is on perfect target to enter Martian orbit later this month at 7:26pm Pacific time Oct. 23 (0226 UT Oct. 24).
Last Friday at 0400 Universal time Oct. 12 (9 p.m. Pacific time, Thursday, Oct. 11), Odyssey fired its small thrusters for three seconds, which changed the speed and direction of the spacecraft by 0.077 meters per second (0.17 miles per hour).
"This was a tiny maneuver, designed to change our altitude at arrival by just a few kilometers. The burn went exactly as planned," said David A. Spencer, Odyssey's mission manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
On Monday, Oct. 15, the flight team will uplink the sequence of commands that pre-programs the spacecraft to fire its main engine and allows the spacecraft to be captured by the planet's gravity and enter orbit around Mars.
Today, Odyssey is 3.5 million kilometers (2.2 million miles) from Mars, traveling at a speed of 23 kilometers per second (51,800 miles per hour) relative to the Sun.
The 2001 Mars Odyssey mission is managed by JPL for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. The Odyssey spacecraft was built by Lockheed Martin Astronautics, Denver. The thermal emission imaging system is managed by Arizona State University, Tempe, and the gamma ray spectrometer is managed by the University of Arizona, Tucson. NASA's Johnson Space Center, Houston, built and manages the Martian radiation environment experiment.
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