Mars Surveyor Fact Sheet, February 1994

From: (Steve Derry)
Subject: Mars Surveyor Fact Sheet
Organization: NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA  USA
X-Newsreader: TIN [version 1.1 PL8]
Date: Mon, 7 Feb 1994 20:30:27 GMT
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Mars Orbiter Spacecraft The Mars orbiter will be a polar-orbiting spacecraft at Mars whose mission is to fulfill the Mars science objectives of the failed Mars Observer mission. Launched with a Delta II vehicle from Cape Canaveral in November 1996, the spacecraft will cruise 10 months to Mars, where it will be initially inserted into an elliptical capture orbit. During the following 4-month period, thruster firings and aerobraking techniques will be used to reach the nearly circular, polar mapping orbit with a 2-hour period. Mapping operations are planned to begin in late January 1998. Aerobraking, which uses atmospheric drag forces on the spacecraft to remove orbital energy, provides a means of minimizing the amount of fuel required to reach the low Mars orbit. The spacecraft will carry a subset of the Mars Observer instrument payload and will use these instruments to acquire data of Mars for a full Martian year (2 Earth years). The spacecraft then will be used as a data relay station for signals from U.S. and international landers and low altitude probes for an additional 3 years. The orbiter is the first mission of a new, decade-long program of robotic exploration of Mars -- the Mars Surveyor Program. This will be an aggressive series of orbiters and landers to be launched in every Mars opportunity. It will be affordable, costing about $100 million per year; engaging to the public, with global and close-up images of Mars; have high scientific value; employ a distributed risk strategy so that no single element loss will result in the total loss of data planned in a given opportunity; and use significant advanced technologies. Landers launched in future years -- in 1998 and 2001 -- will capitalize on the experiences of the Pathfinder lander mission to be launched in 1996. Small orbiters launched in the 1998 and 2001 opportunities will carry the remainder of the Mars Observer payload instruments and will serve as data relay stations. The spacecraft will be acquired from industry through a competitive procurement. The science payload will be provided by government- furnished equipment built as copies of the instruments that flew on Mars Observer. JPL will manage the project for NASA's Solar System Exploration Division and will provide the mission design, navigation and will conduct the mission operations. Tracking and data acquisition will be provided by a 34-meter subnet of the Deep Space Network. February 1994

Courtesy Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California