Illustration of  Voyager spacecraft against a backdrop of stars

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., announced that assembly of Magellan spacecraft structural test article will begin next month, using Voyager spacecraft equipment loaned by the Smithsonian Institution's Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.

The Magellan spacecraft is being built by using spare parts from other missions, including Voyager bus -- the spacecraft structure comparable to the chassis of an automobile.

A test bus is required to accommodate new series of structural tests necessitated by redesign of the adapter that joins the spacecraft to the upper stage rocket. The loan from the Smithsonian saves the project several million dollars it would have cost to build test bus.

Testing of the structural article will begin in November at the project's spacecraft contractor, Martin Marietta Aerospace, Denver, Colo. The loaned bus, replaced at the museum by mockup, will be returned at the end of the testing program next year. The Magellan flight spacecraft will also use spare parts from other missions, including the 3.7 meter high gain antenna from the Voyager program and the command and data system from Galileo, in addition to replication of the Voyager bus.

Magellan, which will use high resolution imaging radar instrument to map the cloud-covered surface of Venus, is scheduled for launch in 1989. JPL manages the Magellan project for NASA's Office of Space Science and Applications.

NOTE TO TV EDITORS: 2-minute silent video clip of the dismantling of the Voyager spacecraft at the Air and Space Museum and construction of test model at Martin Marietta with scene log is available through the JPL Public Information Office.

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