Mars Odyssey successfully completes aerobraking
NASA/JPL NEWS RELEASE
Posted: January 12, 2002

Flight controllers for NASA's Mars Odyssey spacecraft sent commands Friday morning to raise the spacecraft up out of the atmosphere and conclude the aerobraking phase of the mission.

At 3:18 a.m. EST (0818 GMT) Jan. 11, Odyssey fired its small thrusters for 244 seconds, changing its speed by 20 meters per second (45 miles per hour) and raising its orbit by 85 kilometers (53 miles). The closest point in Odyssey's orbit, called the periapsis, is now 201 kilometers (125 miles) above the surface of Mars. The farthest point in the orbit, called the apoapsis, is at an altitude of 500 kilometers (311 miles). During the next few weeks, flight controllers will refine the orbit until the spacecraft reaches its final mapping altitude, a 400-kilometer (249-mile) circular orbit.

"The successful completion of the aerobraking phase is a major milestone for the project. Aerobraking is the most complex phase of the entire mission and the team came through it without a hitch," said David A. Spencer, Odyssey's mission manager at JPL. "During the next month, we will be reconfiguring the spacecraft to begin the science mapping mission." The science mission is expected to begin in late February.

During the aerobraking phase, Odyssey skimmed through the upper reaches of the martian atmosphere 332 times. By using the atmosphere of Mars to slow down the spacecraft in its orbit rather than firing its engine or thrusters, Odyssey was able to save more than 200 kilograms (440 pounds) of propellant. This reduction in spacecraft weight enabled the mission to be launched on a Delta II 7925 launch vehicle, rather than a larger, more expensive launcher.

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. 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. NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., is providing aerobraking support to JPL's navigation team during mission operations.

ERROR: Random File Unopenable

ERROR: Random File Unopenable

The random file, as specified in the $random_file perl variable was unopenable.

The file was not found on your file system. This means that it has either not been created or the path you have specified in $trrandom_file is incorrect.
Apollo 12 tribute DVD set

New! Featuring the jovial crew of Pete Conrad, Dick Gordon and Alan Bean, the Apollo 12 mission was struck by lightning shortly after liftoff but proceeded on the second successful exploration voyage to the lunar surface. This three-disc DVD brings the mission to life with extraordinary detail.
 Choose your store:
U.S. - U.K. - E.U. - Worldwide

Fallen Heroes special patch
This special 12-inch embroidered patch commemorates the U.S. astronauts who made the ultimate sacrifice, honoring the crews of Apollo 1, Challenger and Columbia.
 Choose your store:
U.S. - U.K. - E.U. - Worldwide

Women in Space
Women of Space: Cool Careers on the Final Frontier is for girls, young women, and anyone else interested in learning about exciting careers in space exploration. Includes CD-ROM.
 Choose your store:
U.S. - U.K. - E.U. - Worldwide

Mars rover poster
This new poster features some of the best pictures from NASA's amazing Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunity.
 Choose your store:
U.S.

Apollo 11 special patch
Special collectors' patch marking the 35th anniversary of the historic Apollo 11 moon landing is now available.
 Choose your store:
U.S. - U.K.

Final Shuttle Mission Patch

Free shipping to U.S. addresses!

The crew emblem for the final space shuttle mission is now available in our store. Get this piece of history!
 U.S. STORE
 WORLDWIDE STORE

STS-134 Patch

Free shipping to U.S. addresses!

The final planned flight of space shuttle Endeavour is symbolized in the official embroidered crew patch for STS-134. Available in our store!
 U.S. STORE
 WORLDWIDE STORE

Ares 1-X Patch
The official embroidered patch for the Ares 1-X rocket test flight, is available for purchase.
 U.S. STORE
 WORLDWIDE STORE

Apollo Collage
This beautiful one piece set features the Apollo program emblem surrounded by the individual mission logos.
 U.S. STORE
 WORLDWIDE STORE

Project Orion
The Orion crew exploration vehicle is NASA's first new human spacecraft developed since the space shuttle a quarter-century earlier. The capsule is one of the key elements of returning astronauts to the Moon.
 U.S. STORE


Fallen Heroes Patch Collection
The official patches from Apollo 1, the shuttle Challenger and Columbia crews are available in the store.
 U.S. STORE
 WORLDWIDE STORE


INDEX | PLUS | NEWS ARCHIVE | LAUNCH SCHEDULE
ASTRONOMY NOW | STORE

ADVERTISE

© 2014 Spaceflight Now Inc.