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March 20, 1998

John McNamee
Mars Surveyor 98 Project Manager

Orbiter and lander integration and test activities are proceeding on schedule with no significant problems. The orbiter spacecraft is being prepared for thermal vacuum testing scheduled to begin on April 8. The lander/backshell combination was mated with the cruise stage on March 16 and the heat shield was installed on March 20. The lander spacecraft in full cruise configuration will be transported to the acoustics lab at Lockheed Martin on March 21. Modal testing of the lander is scheduled to begin on March 30 and acoustic testing on April 3.

The Tunable Diode Laser (TDL) element of the flight Thermal and Evolved Gas Analyzer (TEGA) instrument suffered a failure during testing at the University of Arizona. Extensive functional testing of the TEGA following the pyroshock and vibration tests detected a near zero water spectrum output. Troubleshooting of the instrument discovered a break in the thermoelectric cooler on the water laser assembly in the TDL. The cooler is being repaired and will be retested. This failure is not expected to impact the TEGA integration on the lander in June.

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