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Mars Express boom deployment confirmed
Posted: Fri, May 13, 2005, 8:26 AM ET (1226 GMT)
Mars Express in orbit (ESA illustration) ESA officials said Wednesday that the first of two radar booms had finally successfully deployed, after a maneuver locked a final segment of the boom in place. Project officials said earlier this week that they had delayed the deployment of a second boom after they could not confirm that one of 13 segments of the first boom, deployed last week, had locked into the desired position. To resolve the problem, controllers commanded the spacecraft to turn, heating the side of the boom that had been shaded from the Sun. After an hour the spacecraft returned to its normal orientation and reestablished contact with the Earth, at which time controllers found that the boom segment had locked. Project officials have not rescheduled the deployment of the second 20-meter boom, although ESA said in a statement that the deployment operations could resume "in a few weeks." The booms will be used by the MARSIS radar instrument to look for water below the Martian surface.
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