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Mars Climate Orbiter Mission Status

December 13, 1998
4 p.m. Pacific Standard Time

Now 53 hours past launch, the Mars Climate Orbiter spacecraft is being monitored continuously by ground stations in NASA's Deep Space Network, and is in good health. During the past two days updated estimates of the flight path continue to indicate an accurate injection was achieved by the Delta 7425 launch vehicle.

Yesterday, the spacecraft was commanded to slew to its desired attitude and solar array position to begin the cruise to Mars. After successfully completing this maneuver, the flight team observed some anomalies in the onboard attitude determination system, followed by an undesireable increase in the temperatures of some propulsion system components. After some discussion, the team decided to return the spacecraft to its original post-launch attitude and command it to transmit additional telemetry data to Earth, permitting more detailed evaluation of the attitude determination system. After returning to its initial attitude, temperatures of the propulsion components under observation were seen to quickly drop to their previous values.

The flight team is now proceeding with the development of navigation data and commands for the spacecraft to perform its first Trajectory Correction Maneuver (TCM) eight days from now. The magnitude of this maneuver will be just 20 meters per second, 20 percent less than the expected value. After completion of this maneuver, designated TCM-1, an initial checkout of the spacecraft's two science instruments will be conducted.

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