PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICE
JET PROPULSION LABORATORY
CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION
PASADENA, CALIF. 91109. TELEPHONE (818) 354-5011
Contacts: Diane Ainsworth (818) 354-5011
George Diller at KSC (407) 867-2468
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEAugust 14, 1996
TWO 1996 MARS SPACECRAFT ARRIVE AT LAUNCH SITE
Mars Global Surveyor and Mars Pathfinder, a pair of NASA
spacecraft scheduled to be launched toward the red planet on
McDonnell Douglas Delta II rockets late this year, have arrived
at the Kennedy Space Center, Fla., to begin preparations for
The Mars Global Surveyor will be placed in orbit around
Mars. It holds a set of six instruments to study the planet's
surface, atmosphere, gravitational and magnetic fields. The Mars
Pathfinder will be deployed through the Martian atmosphere to
land on the planet's surface, where it will deliver a small
instrumented rover to investigate the terrain surrounding the
spacecraft. Together, Mars Pathfinder and its rover will
investigate the geology and elemental composition of the Martian
rocks and soil, as well as the Martian
atmosphere and surface weather.
"The arrival of the two Mars spacecraft at the launch site
is a wonderful milestone of which the whole Mars missions team
can be very proud," said Dr. Jurgen Rahe, director of Solar
System Exploration at NASA Headquarters, Washington, D.C. "It
reminds us just how close we are to returning important new
scientific knowledge about the red planet back to Earth."
Mars Global Surveyor, which weighs 1,050 kilograms (2,315
pounds) and was built by Lockheed Martin Astronautics in Denver,
Colo., arrived at Cape Canaveral aboard an Air Force C-17 cargo
plane at 3:25 a.m Eastern time. The spacecraft was unloaded and
taken to the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility (PHSF), which
is located in the Kennedy Space Center industrial area, for the
beginning of launch preparations.
The Mars Pathfinder spacecraft, built for NASA by the Jet
Propulsion Laboratory, arrived at the Spacecraft Assembly and
Encapsulation Facility (SAEF-2) at Kennedy Space Center at 3 p.m.
Eastern time yesterday (Aug. 13), having traveled across the
United States in a special van. Presently three of Pathfinder's
four separate components have arrived at KSC: the cruise stage,
the aeroshell and the lander. The fourth element, the small rover
known as "Sojourner," will be shipped by air from California and
is scheduled to arrive on Friday, Aug. 23.
During the time Mars Global Surveyor is housed in KSC's
Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility, it will undergo final
instrument functional tests and electrical system testing. The
spacecraft's batteries and thermal insulation will also be
installed and the spacecraft will be fueled with its control
propellants. Then it will be mated to its solid propellant "upper
stage," which is the Delta third stage booster.
Mars Global Surveyor is scheduled to be transported from the
Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility to Complex 17 on Oct. 23,
where it will be hoisted atop the Delta launch vehicle. After
integrated testing is complete, a 2.9-meter (9.5-foot) diameter
nose fairing around the spacecraft.
Launch of Mars Global Surveyor is scheduled for Nov. 6 at
12:11 p.m. Eastern Standard Time at the beginning of a 20-day
launch period which ends on Nov. 25. The
spacecraft will arrive at Mars in September 1997 to begin a
mission which is planned to last one Martian year or the
equivalent of 687 Earth days.
The integration of the four Mars Pathfinder elements will
begin with installation of the rover on one of the four petals of
the lander. After the petals are closed, the aeroshell which
surrounds and protects the lander will be installed and the
parachutes will be attached. This assembled entry vehicle will
then be mated to the cruise stage that will carry the spacecraft
on its interplanetary trajectory. Finally, before going to the
launch pad, the completed Mars Pathfinder will be mated to the
upper stage booster. The entire integration process will take
approximately three months.
The Mars Pathfinder/Delta third stage combination will then
be transported to Pad 17-B for erection atop the Delta on Nov.
21. After integrated testing, the fairing will be placed around
the spacecraft. Launch is scheduled to occur on Dec. 2 at 2:09
a.m. Eastern time at the beginning of a 24-day launch period that
ends on Dec. 25. Landing on Mars is planned to occur on July 4,
1997. Once on the planet's surface, the mission is expected to
last approximately one month.