Illustration of of Mars Odyssey

NASA's 2001 Mars Odyssey spacecraft fine-tuned its flight path for arrival at Mars in October as it performed its second trajectory correction maneuver this morning.

Odyssey fired its thrusters for 23 seconds at 9:30 a.m. Pacific time, which changed the spacecraft's velocity by 0.9 meters per second (about 2 miles per hour).

"Today's successful trajectory correction maneuver marks the completion of the mission's early cruise phase," said David A. Spencer, mission manager for 2001 Mars Odyssey at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "All science payloads have been checked out and are operating well."

The Odyssey flight team, he said, is now turning its focus to preparations for Mars orbit insertion and aerobraking, in which repeated passage through the upper atmosphere of the planet will be used to adjust the spacecraft's orbit.

Last week, the team opened the door on the gamma ray spectrometer, managed by the University of Arizona in Tucson, and started taking data with the gamma sensor head. Initial data indicate that the detector performance is excellent.

Odyssey is currently about 35 million kilometers (about 22 million miles) from Earth and traveling at a speed of about 27 kilometers per second (about 59,800 miles per hour) relative to the Sun.

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

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