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Surveyor Starts Final Aerobraking
JPL - January 28, 1999 - Mars Global Surveyor began entered its final aerobraking phase, known as the "walk-out" phase. During this final stage of aerobraking, the spacecraft will be bumped higher in four four steps.

January 28 the spacecraft's orbit was raised from a closest approach of 100 kilometers (62.5 miles) to 103 kilometers (64.4 miles) above the planet's surface. As the closest approach, or periapsis, is adjusted, the spacecraft's apoapsis, or farthest point from Mars, will continue to diminish until Global Surveyor is in a two-hour orbit over the poles of the planet.

The flight team at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena and Lockheed Martin Astronautics in Denver will uplink aerobraking sequences twice a day over the next six days to adjust both the nearest and farthest points of the spacecraft's orbit. These sequences will allow the spacecraft to execute one propulsive maneuver each day. The flight team will track Global Surveyor's altitude over the Martian surface during each of 12 daily passes through the Martian atmosphere.

Aerobraking is expected to end on February 4, when Global Surveyor will be instructed to fire its main rocket engine and raise its orbit completely out of the Martian atmosphere. The burn will be executed when the flight team has determined that the spacecraft's apoapsis has dropped from the current 1,000 kilometers (625 miles) to the designated 450 kilometers (279 miles) over the Martian surface.
Over the next two weeks, the spacecraft's closest approach over Mars will slowly drift south until it has moved into a Sun-synchronous orbit, in which the spacecraft will cross the equator at about 2 a.m. local solar time on Mars each orbit. Flight controllers will again fire the spacecraft's main engine on February 18 and perform a final "transfer to mapping orbit" burn, which will lower Global Surveyor's closest approach over Mars from 405 kilometers (253 miles) to approximately 379 kilometers (237 miles).

Mars Global Surveyor remains in excellent health more than two years after its launch. The magnetometer, one of six scientific instruments onboard the spacecraft, was turned off today for completion of the aerobraking phase. It will be turned on again on February 10, and the rest of the science payload will be powered on for calibration tests beginning on February 25. A "pre-mapping phase" in which the spacecraft will acquire one complete global map of Mars will be conducted March 8-28.

  • Mars Surveyor 98 - NASA portal site to Mars Missions

    Surveyor Reports At SpaceDaily

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  • Aerobraking Resumes
  • MGS Safe After Battery RunDown
  • Surveyor's First Science Program
  • Surveyor In First Mapping Orbit
  • Surveyor Yielding Martian Science
  • AeroSurf Down To 13.2 Hours
  • Surveyor To Image Mars
  • Face Off on Mars April 6
  • New Mars Surveyor Images
  • Surveyor Braking Every 15 Hours
  • Surveyor Orbit Down to 19 Hours
  • Surveyor Speeds Up Aerobraking
  • Mars Duststorm Weakens
  • Duststorm Hampers Surveyor
  • Surveyor's Slow Slide Down The Gravity Well
  • Aerobraking Resumed

    Mars 98 Reports From Spacer.Com

  • Polar Lander Heads For Mars
  • Mars Polar Lander Ready For Deep Space 2
  • Arizona Team Gears Up For Mars Shoot
  • Planetary Society Calls For Vigorous Mars exploration Program
  • Kodak Gives Color To Mars
  • Third Mars Invasion Underway
  • Mars Here We Come
  • Second Mars Invasion Force Ready - Detailed JPL Univese Overview

    Mission Links

  • Mars Surveyor 98 - NASA portal site to Mars Missions
  • Planetary Society
  • Kodak's Motion Analysis Systems Division
  • Mars Color Imager
  • Mars' South Pole

    Mars Coverage at Spacer.Com

    Future Missions

  • Kirtland Recovers Penetrator Device
  • Europe Takes The Martian Express Lane
  • Robots To Colonize Mars
  • Mars Win Gives Goldin Political Leverage
  • GenCorp Wins Mars Test Deal
  • Mars Society Kicks Off August 13
  • A Red Mars Arising
  • Mars Base Needs Local Supply
  • NASA Tests Mars Rover

    Areography

  • Martian Brew Could Be Alive
  • Mars MicroProbe Vacuum Tests
  • Mars Society Kicks Off August 13
  • Crustal Microbes Could Signify Life
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    Pathfinder

  • A Panorama Of Sojourners
  • NASA Bids Pathfinder Good-Bye
  • Pathfinder Reveals Role of Water
  • Pathfinder Science Summary
  • Pathfinder Mission Huge Success
  • Mars Pathfinder: Mission Overview



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