MEDIA RELATIONS OFFICE
JET PROPULSION LABORATORY
CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION
PASADENA, CALIF. 91109. TELEPHONE (818) 354-5011
NOTE TO EDITORSSeptember 14, 1998
1998 MARS CLIMATE ORBITER ARRIVES AT NASA'S KENNEDY SPACE CENTER
FOR FINAL LAUNCH PREPARATIONS
NASA's Mars Climate Orbiter arrived at NASA's Kennedy Space
Center, FL, to begin final preparations for a December 10 launch.
The spacecraft was delivered Friday, Sept. 11 aboard an Air
Force C-17 cargo plane from the Lockheed Martin Astronautics
plant in Denver, CO, NASA's industrial partner for the 1998 Mars
Surveyor Climate Orbiter and Polar Lander missions.
The orbiter's scientific instruments will map the Martian
surface and profile its atmosphere. The spacecraft will support
communications and data relay with the Mars Polar Lander, which
will set down near the southern polar cap to dig for traces of
water below the surface. The orbiter will also monitor and
measure in detail the planet's surface for one Martian year,
equal to two Earth years.
The spacecraft has been delivered to the Spacecraft Assembly
and Encapsulation Facility-2 (SAEF-2), where it will be prepared
for its nine-month journey to Mars. Among the processing
activities to be performed are functional tests of the science
instruments, basic spacecraft subsystems and final checks of the
spacecraft's communications system. On Nov. 30, the orbiter and
its upper-stage booster will be transported to Launch Complex 17,
Pad A, for mating with the Boeing Delta II launch vehicle.
The spacecraft is 2.1 meters (7.6 feet) high, 2 meters (6.4
feet) deep and 1.6 meters (5.4 feet) wide. At liftoff, it will
weigh 638 kilograms (1,418 pounds) with its fuel. Power will be
provided by a single large solar array which is about 6 meters
(18.6 feet) long and 2 meters (6.8 feet) across. The eight-day
primary launch period to achieve an optimum cruise phase and Mars
planetary encounter will begin with an instantaneous launch
window at 1:56 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on December 10. There
are two instantaneous windows each day, followed by a secondary,
six-day launch period beginning on December 18.
For additional information about spacecraft pre-launch
activities, contact the Kennedy Space Center news room at 407-
867-2468 or the Jet Propulsion Laboratory Media Relations Office
at (818) 354-5011.