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Mars Climate Orbiter Mission Status

December 19, 1998
11 A.M. Pacific Standard Time

Now eight days past launch, Mars Climate Orbiter is performing well under the control of its first "housekeeping" sequence, which was successfully transmitted to the spacecraft and activated yesterday. Deep Space Network (DSN) coverage of the spacecraft has dropped to three contact periods per day of roughly four hours each. This level of coverage will continue out through Jan. 11, 1999 (L+30 days).

This morning commands were successfully transmitted to the spacecraft to complete the configuring of its software system for early cruise. The orbiter's autopilot is now programmed to track the Earth with its medium-gain antenna. The vehicle's orientation will evolve slowly as the Earth and spacecraft follow their respective orbits around the sun. Analysis of the spacecraft's power and thermal control subsystems indicate that it can operate safely in this manner for at least one month, and probably longer, allowing sufficient time for the flight team to conduct the initial Mars Polar Lander post-launch operations before returning to long-range planning for the orbiter.

Preparations are nearing completion for the orbiter's first Trajectory Correction Maneuver (TCM), designated TCM-1. Testing and verification of the maneuver commands will be completed later today, with the maneuver scheduled to begin at 1:30 P.M. PST on Monday, Dec. 21st.

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