Mars Global Surveyor To Be Built By Martin Marietta of Denver, Colorado

JPL Press Release, 8 July 1994

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

Contact: Diane Ainsworth

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                           July 8, 1994

     Development of the Mars Global Surveyor -- the first in
a series of low-cost spacecraft to explore the Martian
environment -- will begin this month, leading up to a
November 1996 launch and America's return to the red planet.

     NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Director Dr. Edward C.
Stone today announced the selection of the contractor,
Martin Marietta Technologies Inc. of Denver, Colo., to
build the light-weight orbiter after a rapid, industry-wide

     "Martin Marietta Technologies Inc. has a successful
record of developing unique planetary spacecraft, including
the highly successful Magellan Venus radar mapping mission
and the Viking Mars landers," Stone said.

     "This is the beginning of a new era in the exploration
of the Martian environment and a new way of conducting
business with our partners in industry," he said.  "We are
now on the way to building a viable, state-of-the-art
spacecraft that will be ready for launch by November 1996
and assure us of many scientifically important results."

     The Mars Global Surveyor will be readied for launch
from Cape Canaveral, Fla., in just 28 months, beginning
NASA's decade-long plan to launch orbiters and landers to
Mars every 26 months through the year 2005.  The rigorous
timeline -- trimmed from an average five years or more in
the past -- reflects NASA's new policy of streamlining the
development and deployment of new planetary missions.

     Performance objectives for the new orbiter called for a
low mass, polar-orbiting spacecraft that could carry all but
two of the eight science instruments that were on board the
Mars Observer spacecraft when it was lost on Aug. 21, 1993.
Project costs through 30 days after launch have been capped
at $155 million.

     The Mars Global Surveyor will provide high-resolution,
global maps of the Martian surface, profile the planet's
atmosphere and study the nature of the magnetic field.  The
orbiter will be small enough to be launched on a Delta
expendable launch vehicle and will spend 10 months in
transit to Mars before entering a polar orbit around the
planet in September 1997.

     The Jet Propulsion Laboratory will manage the Mars
Global Surveyor mission for NASA's Office of Space Science,
Washington, D.C.