MAVEN Nears Mars
As of August 29th, the MAVEN spacecraft is 198 million kilometers (123 million miles) from Earth and 6.6 million kilometers (4.1 million miles) from Mars.
MAVEN continues on a smooth journey to Mars. All spacecraft systems are operating nominally. Since we are now in a "pre-Mars Orbit Insertion (MOI) moratorium", all instruments are powered off until after we arrive at the Red Planet.

We had scheduled a final Trajectory Correction Maneuver (TCM-4) for September 12th. The first and second TCMs occurred in December 2013 and February 2014, respectively. The scheduled TCM-3 in July was cancelled because the flight path at the time did not warrant a correction maneuver. As a result of a meeting held on August 26th, it now appears that TCM-4 will also be cancelled. We are tracking right where we want to be. On September 4th we will make a final decision on cancelling this last TCM.

The MAVEN navigation team successfully completed a four-day operational readiness test for the future "deep dip" campaigns planned during the prime science phase.The deep dips are maneuvers that will bring the spacecraft down lower into the Mars atmosphere (approximately 125 kilometers from the surface of Mars). The first deep dip campaign is planned for January 2015.

There was also a review at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory with the Deep Space Network (DSN) team to determine its readiness to support Mars Orbit Insertion. The DSN is comprised of a series of antennas/stations that are located around the world and enable us to have continuous communications contact with MAVEN during critical events. The review was successful; DSN is ready to support us on MOI night.

The MAVEN operations team successfully completed the final MOI operational readiness test. Participants supported the rehearsal from their respective day-of-event locations, including the Lockheed Martin operations center in Denver, Colorado, the backup operations center at Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. Everything went off without a hitch. The team and all assets are ready.

David F. Mitchell, MAVEN Project Manager at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

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