Illustration of of Mars Odyssey

Due to a favorable launch trajectory on Saturday, flight controllers for Mars Odyssey have decided that they can postpone the first maneuver to fine-tune the spacecraft's flight path. All systems on the spacecraft are in excellent health.

The first trajectory correction maneuver had been scheduled for Monday, April 16, but after analyzing the current spacecraft trajectory, spacecraft engineers have decided to wait until later in the cruise phase to perform the first maneuver. The navigation team is currently evaluating dates in late May for a potential mid-course correction.

Flight controllers will now concentrate on turning on and calibrating the science instruments. On Monday, they will send commands to Odyssey that tell the spacecraft to position itself in its cruise attitude and point both the medium and high gain antennas toward the Earth. On Tuesday, they will turn on the thermal infrared imaging system (THEMIS) and then on Thursday, THEMIS will take both a thermal infrared and a visible image of the Earth.

Odyssey is currently 1,488,556 kilometers (924,944 miles) from Earth and traveling at a speed of 3.3 kilometers per second (7,455 miles per hour) relative to the Earth.

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, Pasadena, Calif. The Odyssey spacecraft was built by Lockheed Martin Astronautics, Denver, Colo.