Mars Surveyor Mission Press Release, 7 February 1994
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Steve Derry)
Subject: HQ 94-20 / Mars Surveyor
Organization: NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA USA
X-Newsreader: TIN [version 1.1 PL8]
Date: Mon, 7 Feb 1994 20:29:59 GMT
Donald L. Savage
Headquarters, Washington, D.C. February 7, 1994
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
NASA BEGINS DEVELOPMENT OF NEW MARS EXPLORATION PROGRAM
NASA will continue to explore Mars with a new exploration strategy in
fiscal year 1995. The Mars Surveyor program calls for start of
development of a small orbiter that will be launched in November 1996 to
study the surface of the red planet.
The Mars Surveyor orbiter will lay the foundation for a series of
missions to Mars in a decade-long program of Mars exploration. The
missions will take advantage of launch opportunities about every 2 years
as Mars comes into alignment with Earth.
NASA requested $77 million in development costs in FY 1995 for the new
Mars orbiter. The announcement was made during NASA's press briefing on
the 1995 budget request. The 1995 fiscal year runs from Oct. 1, 1994, to
Sept. 30, 1995.
The Mars Surveyor program will be conducted within the constraints of a
cost ceiling of approximately $100 million per year. The orbiter will be
small enough to be launched on a Delta expendable launch vehicle and will
carry roughly half of the science payload that flew on Mars Observer,
which was lost on Aug. 21, 1993. The specific instruments will be
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Pasadena, Calif., will issue a
request for proposals to industry in mid-March to solicit potential
spacecraft designs. Selection of a contractor to build the spacecraft
will be made by July 1.
NASA envisions an orbiter/lander pair of spacecraft as the next in this
series of robotic missions to Mars.
The orbiter planned for launch in 1998 would be even smaller than the
initial Mars Surveyor orbiter and carry the remainder of the Mars
Observer science instruments. It would act as a communications relay
satellite for a companion lander, launched the same year, and other
landers in the future, such as the Russian Mars '96 lander. The U.S.
Pathfinder lander, set to land on Mars in 1997, will operate
independently of the Mars orbiter.
The 1998 orbiter/lander spacecraft would be small enough to be launched
on an expendable launch vehicle about half the size and cost of the Delta
JPL will manage mission design and spacecraft operations of the Mars
Surveyor for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C.
Courtesy Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California