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2001 News Releases

Mars Odyssey Mission Status
May 23, 2001

Artist's concept of Mars Odyssey
Artist's concept of Mars Odyssey

       NASA's 2001 Mars Odyssey spacecraft performed its first trajectory correction maneuver this morning as it fired its thrusters to fine-tune its flight path for arrival at Mars in October.

       Odyssey fired its thrusters for 82 seconds at 10:30 a.m. Pacific time, which changed the spacecraft's velocity by 3.6 meters per second (8.1 miles per hour).

       "The maneuver executed as planned, and we are very pleased with the spacecraft performance," said David A. Spencer, mission manager for 2001 Mars Odyssey at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. "Due to the favorable launch we received, this maneuver was much smaller than planned pre-launch. This will allow us to reach Mars with our propellant tanks nearly full, and we will make good use of the extra fuel."

       The principal investigator for the high energy neutron detector instrument reports the detection of gamma ray bursts, occurring on May 8 and May 17. Comparing these measurements with similar measurements from other spacecraft allows scientists to determine the direction of the burst sources. The high energy neutron detector and the companion neutron spectrometer instrument also detected streams of particles and radiation from enhanced solar activity on May 20.

       Odyssey is currently about 14.3 million kilometers (8.9 million miles) from Earth and traveling at a speed of about 29 kilometers per second (about 65,700 miles per hour) relative to the Sun.

       The Mars Odyssey mission is managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. The Odyssey spacecraft was built by Lockheed Martin Astronautics, Denver.


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