Mars Global Surveyor Fact Sheet

Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 8 July 1994

PASADENA, CALIF. 91109. TELEPHONE (818) 354-5011

Contact: Diane Ainsworth


     Mars Global Surveyor will be a polar-orbiting
spacecraft at Mars designed to provide global maps of
surface topography, distribution of minerals and monitoring
of global weather.

     Launched with a Delta II expendable vehicle from Cape
Canaveral, Fla., 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 four months, thruster firings and aerobraking
techniques will be used to reach the nearly circular mapping
orbit over the Martian polar caps.  Aerobraking, a technique
which uses the forces of atmospheric drag to slow the
spacecraft into its final mapping orbit, will provide a
means of minimizing the amount of fuel required to reach the
low Mars orbit.  Mapping operations are expected to begin in
late January 1998.

     The spacecraft will circle Mars once every two hours,
maintaining a "sun synchronous" orbit that will put the sun
at a standard angle above the horizon in each image and
allow the mid-afternoon lighting to cast shadows in such a
way that surface features will stand out.  The spacecraft
will carry a portion of the Mars Observer instrument payload
and will use these instruments to acquire data of Mars for a
full Martian year, the equivalent of about two Earth years.
The spacecraft will then be used as a data relay station for
signals from U.S. and international landers and low-altitude
probes for an additional three years.

     Mars Global Surveyor is the first mission of a new,
decade-long program of robotic exploration of Mars, called
the Mars Surveyor program.  This will be an aggressive
series of orbiters and landers to be launched every 26
months, as Mars moves into alignment with Earth.  The
program will be affordable, costing about $100 million per
year; engaging to the public, providing fresh new global and
close-up images of Mars; and have high scientific value
obtained with the development of leading-edge space

     International participation, collaboration and
coordination will enhance all missions of the program.
Landers in future years -- 1998, 2001, 2003 and 2005 -- will
capitalize on the experience of the Mars Pathfinder lander
mission to be launched in 1996.  Small orbiters launched in
the 1998 and 2003 opportunities will carry other instruments
from the Mars Observer payload and will serve as data relay
stations for international missions of the future.

     The Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft will be acquired
from industry through a competitive procurement.  The
science payload will be provided as government-furnished
equipment that was built to duplicate the instruments flown
on Mars Observer.  The payload includes the Mars orbital
camera, thermal emission spectrometer, ultra-stable
oscillator, laser altimeter, magnetometer/electron
reflectometer and Mars relay system.

     The Jet Propulsion Laboratory will manage the project
for NASA's Solar System Exploration Division and will
provide the mission design, navigation, and conduct mission
operations.  Tracking and data acquisition will be provided
by a 34-meter subnetwork of the worldwide Deep Space

     Project costs for the Mars Global Surveyor through 30
days after launch will be approximately $155 million.