Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. Mars Exploration News .




MARSDAILY
NASA Mars Orbiter Preparing for Mars Lander's 2016 Arrival
by Staff Writers
Pasadena CA (JPL) Jul 30, 2015


Artist concept of Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Image courtesy NASA/JPL. For a larger version of this image please go here.

With its biggest orbit maneuver since 2006, NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) will prepare this week for the arrival of NASA's next Mars lander, InSight, next year.

A planned 77-second firing of six intermediate-size thrusters on July 29 will adjust the orbit timing of the veteran spacecraft so it will be in position to receive radio transmissions from InSight as the newcomer descends through the Martian atmosphere and touches down on Sept. 28, 2016. These six rocket engines, which were used for trajectory corrections during the spacecraft's flight from Earth to Mars, can each produce about 22 newtons, or five pounds, of thrust.

"Without making this orbit change maneuver, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter would be unable to hear from InSight during the landing, but this will put us in the right place at the right time," said MRO Project Manager Dan Johnston of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California.

The orbiter will record InSight's transmissions for later playback to Earth as a record of each event during the critical minutes of InSight's arrival at Mars, just as MRO did for the landings of NASA's Curiosity Mars rover three years ago, and NASA's Phoenix Mars lander in 2008.

InSight will examine the deep interior of Mars for clues about the formation and early evolution of all rocky planets, including Earth.

MRO will continue its studies of Mars while preparing for the InSight arrival. MRO collects high-resolution imaging and spectral data, as well as atmospheric and sub-surface profiles. It has returned several times more data about the Red Planet than all other deep-space missions combined. It will also continue providing communication relay support for Mars rovers and making observations for analysis of candidate landing sites for future missions.

After the InSight landing, plans call for MRO to perform a pair of even larger maneuvers in October 2016 and April 2017 - each using the six intermediate-size thrusters longer than three minutes. These will return it to the orbit timing it has used since 2006, crossing the equator at about 3 a.m. and 3 p.m., local solar time, during each near-polar loop around the planet. To observe the InSight arrival, MRO will be in an orbit that crosses the equator at about 2:30 p.m. local solar mean time.

The last time the mission performed a maneuver larger than this week's was on November 15, 2006. That maneuver fired the intermediate-size thrusters for 76 seconds to establish the original 3 p.m. Local Mean Solar Time (LMST) sun-synchronous condition after a six-month period of using dips into the upper atmosphere to alter the orbit's shape.

The spacecraft has three sets of thrusters. It used its most powerful set - six thrusters, each with 170 newtons, or 39 pounds of force - for about 27 minutes to first enter orbit when it arrived at Mars on March 10, 2006. It uses eight smaller thrusters most frequently, for small adjustments to course or orientation.

Even after the planned 2017 maneuver, the spacecraft's remaining supply of hydrazine propellant is projected to be more than 413 pounds (about 187 kilograms), equivalent to about 19 years of consumption in normal operations.


Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once


credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly


paypal only

.


Related Links
MRO at NASA
InSight at JPL
Mars News and Information at MarsDaily.com
Lunar Dreams and more






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





MARSDAILY
Celebrating 50 years of Martian imagery
Washington (UPI) Jul 15, 2015
Fifty years ago today, the first image of Mars was beamed back by NASA's Mariner 4. The image, which was followed by 22 others, was first closeup of another planet. The image arrived a day after Mariner 4 executed a flyby of Mars. Fifty years later, and NASA's New Horizons spacecraft is on the same schedule, only this time the target is Pluto, a dwarf planet. "You couldn't have w ... read more


MARSDAILY
NASA Could Return Humans to the Moon by 2021

Smithsonian embraces crowdfunding to preserve lunar spacesuit

NASA Sets Sights on Robot-Built Moon Colony

Technique may reveal the age of moon rocks during spaceflight

MARSDAILY
Chinese earth station is for exclusively scientific and civilian purposes

Cooperation in satellite technology put Belgium, China to forefront

China set to bolster space, polar security

China's super "eye" to speed up space rendezvous

MARSDAILY
Space Kombucha in the search for life and its origin

Political Tensions Have No Impact on Space Cooperation- Roscosmos

RED epic dragon camera captures riveting images on space station

Launch, docking returns ISS crew to full strength

MARSDAILY
Flowing nitrogen ice glaciers seen on Pluto

New Horizons 'Captures' Two of Pluto's Smaller Moons

New Horizons Finds Second Mountain Range in Pluto's 'Heart'

10 year journey to Pluto achieves historic encounter

MARSDAILY
Unusual Red Arcs Spotted on Icy Saturn Moon

'Bathtub Rings' Suggest Titan's Dynamic Seas

Bright Basin on Tethys

Titan's atmosphere even more Earth-like than previously thought

MARSDAILY
NASA satellite images Alaska's scorched earth

California 'Rain Debt' Equal to Average Full Year of Precipitation

Space-eye-view could help stop global wildlife decline

Satellites peer into rock 50 miles beneath Tibetan Plateau

MARSDAILY
Japanese firm to mature whisky in space

Start-ups in spotlight at new Hong Kong tech meet

Third spaceflight for astronaut Paolo Nespoli

Solar weather reports key to safe space travel

MARSDAILY
Microlensing used to find distant Uranus-sized planet

NASA's Spitzer Confirms Closest Rocky Exoplanet

Finding Another Earth

Kepler Mission Discovers Bigger, Older Cousin to Earth




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.