The Mariner IV spacecraft, during the past week, reached a number of milestones along its 228-day scientific mission to the planet Mars, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration reported today.
Last Friday, Mariner clocked 3000 hours in space.
On Saturday, the spacecraft had covered 200 million miles of its 325-million-mile journey.
On Tuesday, the 129th day of the mission, Mariner IV equaled the continuous operation record for an American deep space probe established in January, 1963, by the Mariner II-Venus spacecraft.
Project officials at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., said Mariner IV's Canopus tracker was updated on schedule last Friday to compensate for the changing angular relationship between the spacecraft and the star canopus.
The electronic change of the tracker's "look angle," commanded by the spacecraft's on-board central computer and sequencer, will occur twice more before Mariner IV flies by Mars next July 14.
At 9 a.m. EST today, Mariner was traveling at a velocity of 34,738 miles per hour relative to Earth and had reached a point in space 49,373,799 miles from Earth. Total distance traveled in orbit was 206,868,340 miles.
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