. 24/7 Space News .
Mars Gets Backbone With New Antenna
 JPL - March 29, 1999 - A steady stream of new data from Mars, including high-resolution images, will begin arriving next week at Earth receiving stations following yesterday's deployment of the Mars Global Surveyor's high-power communications antenna.

"Having a deployed, steerable high-gain antenna is like switching from a garden hose to a fire hose in terms of data return from the spacecraft," said Joseph Beerer, flight operations manager for Mars Global Surveyor at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

"Up until now, we have been using the high-gain antenna in its stowed position, so periodically during the first three weeks of our mapping mission, we had to stop collecting science data and turn the entire spacecraft to transmit data to Earth," Beerer explained. "Now that the high-gain antenna is deployed and steerable, we have the ability to simultaneously study Mars and communicate with Earth."

The antenna was deployed at about midnight EST, Sunday, March 28. It had been stowed since launch in November 1996 to reduce its chances of being contaminated by exhaust from the spacecraft's main engine, which was fired periodically throughout the mission. The spacecraft entered orbit around Mars in September 1997 and used a technique called aerobraking to gradually lower the spacecraft's altitude to the desired orbit for mapping. The mapping mission began March 9; full-scale mapping begins April 4.

Because engineers were uncertain that a device intended to dampen the force of the deployment would work correctly, engineers used the antenna in its stowed configuration for the first three weeks of mapping. This allowed the team to meet the mission's minimum science objectives before risking the antenna deployment.

Last night, the dish-shaped high-gain antenna, 5 feet in diameter, was deployed on a 6.6-foot-long boom and was pushed outward from the spacecraft by a powerful spring. The suspect dampening device worked as it should have, cushioning the force of the spring and limiting the speed of the deployment, similar to the automatic closer on a screen door. With the antenna successfully deployed, Mars Global Surveyor will return a nearly constant stream of observations of Mars for the next two years.

Information from the science instruments is recorded 24 hours a day on solid state recorders on board the spacecraft. Once a day, during a 10-hour tracking pass over a Deep Space Network antenna, the data are transmitted to Earth. In addition, every third day a second tracking pass is used to transmit data "live" at a very high rate directly to Earth without being put on the recorder. These data, which will contain high-resolution images of Mars, will be transmitted at rates between 40,000 and 80,000 bits per second.

  • Surveyor

  • Earth Invades Mars Special Report

    Surveyor Reports At SpaceDaily

  • A Blanket Of Frost Persists
  • Surveyor Ready to Begin Mars Mapping Mission
  • Sulphur In Them Dunes
  • Surveyor Reveals Extensive Volcanic History
  • Surveyor Completes AeroBraking
  • Surveyor Starts Final Aerobraking
  • Surveyor Starts Final Aerobraking
  • Surveyor's Summer of Science
  • 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


  • A Blanket Of Frost Persists
  • Sulphur In Them Dunes
  • Surveyor Reveals Extensive Volcanic History
  • Martian Brew Could Be Alive
  • Mars MicroProbe Vacuum Tests
  • Mars Society Kicks Off August 13
  • Crustal Microbes Could Signify Life
  • Dust Devils Kickoff Storms
  • Meteorite Contains No Biological Life


  • 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

    Thanks for being here;
    We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

    With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

    Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

    If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.
    SpaceDaily Contributor
    $5 Billed Once

    credit card or paypal
    SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
    $5 Billed Monthly

    paypal only

  • The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2016 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.