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December 23, 1998
4:00 P.M. (PST)

Earlier today Mars Climate Orbiter successfully completed its last planned activity for 1998, in which its two science instruments, the Pressure Modulator Infrared Radiometer (PMIRR) and MARs Color Imager (MARCI), were powered for their first post-launch health check. Preliminary analysis of the telemetry data returned indicated that both instruments are in good operating condition. Further detailed analysis of the health check data will be perfomed over the next few weeks.

Data collected onboard the spacecraft from both instruments were transmitted back to Earth over a four and one-half hour period. Due to a minor error discovered in the telemetry system configuration, one of the eight MARCI test images was not returned during the scheduled data playback period. The error has been corrected, and the remaining MARCI data will be transmitted early next week.

With the completion of this activity, the flight team is now turning its focus to completion of preparations for launch of the Mars Polar Lander. Following the launch of the lander, scheduled for January 3, 1999, the next planned activity for the orbiter is the development of its second "housekeeping" sequence, followed by a second Trajectory Correction Maneuver in late January.

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