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Mars Climate Orbiter Mission Status

December 15, 1998
6 p.m. Pacific Standard Time

Mars Climate Orbiter (MCO) is in excellent health and continues to be monitored round-the-clock by the Deep Space Network (DSN). The MCO flight team is currently developing the first "housekeeping" command sequence for the spacecraft, which will automatically perform routine tasks onboard that have been accomplished via real-time commanding to date. Round-the-clock coverage from the DSN will end Thursday night, December 17, to be followed by periodic contacts three times a day, scheduled via the housekeeping sequence, for the next four weeks (through the launch of MCO's sister spacecraft, the Mars Polar Lander, scheduled for January 3, 1999).

The other significant activity underway at this time is the detailed design of the first midcourse correction, scheduled for Monday, December 21. An implementation strategy has been identified which satisifies all spacecraft thermal and pointing constraints, and provides for continuous radio communication at the current 2100 bits-per-second data throughout the maneuver.

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