archive: SETI MARS POLAR LANDER ARRIVES AT KENNEDY SPACE CENTER

SETI MARS POLAR LANDER ARRIVES AT KENNEDY SPACE CENTER

Bob Cutter ( bcutter@teal.csn.net )
Fri, 2 Oct 1998 11:18:09 -0600

>X-Sender: jcallas@pop.jpl.nasa.gov
>Date: Fri, 2 Oct 1998 08:41:41 -0700
>Reply-To: "John L. Callas" <John.L.Callas@JPL.NASA.GOV>
>Sender: MARS-NET <MARS-NET@VM.STLAWU.EDU>
>From: "John L. Callas" <John.L.Callas@JPL.NASA.GOV>
>Subject: MARS POLAR LANDER ARRIVES AT KENNEDY SPACE CENTER
>To: MARS-NET@VM.STLAWU.EDU
>X-UIDL: 907344239.002
>
>Kennedy Space Center News Release
>October 1, 1998
>KSC Contact: George Diller
>KSC Release No. 113-98
>
>MARS POLAR LANDER ARRIVES AT KENNEDY SPACE CENTER
>
>NASA's Mars Polar Lander arrived at Kennedy Space Center today to begin
>final preparations for launch. The spacecraft arrived aboard an Air Force
>C-17 cargo plane which landed at KSC's Shuttle Landing Facility early
>this morning following its flight from the Lockheed Martin Astronautics
>plant in Denver, CO. The launch of the Mars Polar Lander is targeted to
>occur aboard a Boeing Delta II rocket on Jan. 3, 1999. This will be the
>second spacecraft to be launched in the pair of Mars '98 missions. The
>Mars Climate Orbiter is planned for launch on Dec. 10, 1998.
>
>The solar-powered spacecraft is designed to touch down on the Martian
>surface near the northern-most boundary of the south pole. This is near
>the edge of Mars' thin, carbon dioxide ice sheet which will have receded
>by the time the lander arrives in December 1999, late spring in the
>southern hemisphere of Mars. The mission's objective is to study the
>water cycle at the Martian south pole. The lander also will help
>scientists learn more about climate change and current resources on Mars,
>studying such things frosts, dust, water vapor and condensates in the
>Martian atmosphere.
>
>The Mars Polar Lander is to be readied for launch in NASA's Spacecraft
>Assembly and Encapsulation Facility-2 (SAEF-2) located in the KSC
>Industrial Area. Among the activities to be performed will be a
>functional test of the science instruments and the basic spacecraft
>subsystems. Checkout of the communications system will be performed,
>including a verification of the spacecraft's ability to send data to
>controllers on Earth via the Mars Climate Orbiter and the tracking
>stations of the Deep Space Network. The spacecraft's radar, used during
>the final descent, will be installed and the solar arrays will be
>attached and tested.
>
>The Deep Space 2 microprobes will also be installed on the lander's
>cruise ring. These two probes, developed by NASA's New Millennium Program
>will test technology and instruments to search for water several feet
>below the Martian surface. The spacecraft will then be ready for mating
>with the cruise stage and parachutes used for the trip through the lower
>Martian atmosphere will then be installed.
>
>Next, the spacecraft will be fueled with its attitude control fuel and
>undergo spin balance testing. Finally, on Dec. 15, the spacecraft will be
>mated to a Star 48 solid propellant upper stage booster and then prepared
>for transportation to the launch pad.
>
>Meanwhile, at Launch Complex 17, the Delta II rocket will be undergoing
>erection and prelaunch checkout on Pad B. The first stage is scheduled to
>be installed into the launcher on Nov. 23. Four solid rocket boosters
>will be attached around the base of the first stage beginning on Nov. 25.
>The second stage will be mated atop the first stage on Dec. 2, and the
>fairing will be hoisted into the clean room of the pad's mobile service
>tower Dec. 3.
>
>The Mars Polar Lander with its upper stage booster will be transported to
>Complex 17 on Dec. 21 for hoisting atop the Delta and mating to the
>second stage. After the spacecraft undergoes a state of health check, the
>spacecraft will be closed out for flight and on Dec. 29 the two halves of
>the Delta nose fairing placed around it. At liftoff, the spacecraft
>weighs 1,270 pounds (576 kilograms), is 3.6 feet (106 centimeters) tall,
>and 12 feet (360 centimeters) long.
>
>Launch is planned to occur at the opening of an instantaneous launch
>window on Jan. 3, 1999 at 3:31 p.m. EST. The nominal launch period is
>divided into an eight-day primary period (Jan. 3-10) followed by a
>six-day secondary launch period (Jan. 11-16). The planetary window closes
>on Jan. 27, 1999.
>
>After an 11-month cruise phase, the Mars Polar Lander will arrive at the
>planet and begin its descent to the surface. An imager onboard the
>spacecraft will take high resolution photographs during the descent to
>the surface to establish the geological and physical context of the
>landing site. A robotic arm will be powered up soon after landing to
>begin exploring this unknown region with an elaborate, 6.6-foot-long
>(2-meter) robotic scoop, which will dig shallow trenches to further
>investigate Mars' climatic history.
>
>The lander also will conduct soil analysis experiments on the surface,
>using a small "chemistry set" and "oven" to determine the thermal
>properties and evolved gasses in frozen water and dust. Martian surface
>temperatures, winds, pressure and the amount of dust in the atmosphere
>will be measured on a daily basis, while a small microphone records the
>sounds of wind gusts or mechanical operations onboard the spacecraft.
>
>The 1998 Mars Climate Orbiter and Mars Polar Lander missions are 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, CA. Lockheed Martin Astronautics, Denver CO, which
>built and operates the spacecraft, is JPL's space industry partner in the
>mission. Launch is the responsibility of NASA's John F. Kennedy Space
>Center. The Boeing Company is KSC's space industry partner in launch
>operations.
>
>