Following last night's final planned course correction, NASA's 2001 Mars Odyssey spacecraft is now on target to enter Martian orbit later this month.
At 0400 Universal time on Friday, Oct. 12 (9 p.m. Pacific time, Thursday, Oct. 11), Odyssey fired its small thrusters for three seconds, which changed the speed and direction of the spacecraft by 0.077 meters per second (0.17 miles per hour). Odyssey will arrive at Mars at 0226 Universal time Oct. 24 (7:26 p.m. Pacific time Oct. 23).
"This was a tiny maneuver, designed to change our altitude at arrival by just a few kilometers. The burn went exactly as planned," said David A. Spencer, Odyssey's mission manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
On Monday, Oct. 15, the flight team will uplink the sequence of commands that pre-programs the spacecraft to fire its main engine and allows the spacecraft to be captured by the planet's gravity and enter orbit around Mars.
Today, Odyssey is 3.5 million kilometers (2.2 million miles) from Mars, traveling at a speed of 23 kilometers per second (51,800 miles per hour) relative to the Sun.
The 2001 Mars Odyssey mission is managed by JPL 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. The thermal emission imaging system is managed by Arizona State University, Tempe, and the gamma ray spectrometer is managed by the University of Arizona, Tucson. NASA's Johnson Space Center, Houston, built and manages the Martian radiation environment experiment.
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