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Mars Express boom deployment delayed
Posted: Mon, May 9, 2005, 8:01 PM ET (0001 GMT)
Mars Express in orbit (ESA illustration) The European Space Agency announced Monday that it was postponing the deployment of a second boom used by the radar instrument on Mars Express in order to better understand an anomaly that took place when the first boom deployed last week. Engineers found that while 12 of the 13 segments of the 20-meter boom had locked in position, they could not confirm that one segment had locked in place. Project officials then decided to delay the deployment of the second 20-meter boom under they could determine what happened with the first boom and how it might affect the second. The twin booms will be used by MARSIS, an instrument on the Mars orbiter to search for subsurface water. Deployment of the boom has been delayed for a year after the manufacturer of the boom raised the possibility that the boom could whiplash during deployment, swing back and striking the spacecraft.
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