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ESA to proceed with MARSIS deployment
Posted: Wed, Jun 8, 2005, 8:30 AM ET (1230 GMT)
Mars Express in orbit (ESA illustration) The European Space Agency announced Tuesday that it plans to go ahead later this month with the deployment of a second 20-meter radar boom on its Mars Express spacecraft, confident that problems experienced last month have been resolved. The boom will be extended between June 13 and 21, officials said, under a deployment scenario altered slightly than the one used for the first boom last month. During the first boom's deployment one of the hinges failed to lock into place, a problem resolved when the spacecraft was reoriented to allow sunlight to heat the balky hinge. Once the second boom is fully extended and locked, ESA plans to begin commissioning of a radar instrument that will use the booms to search for subterranean water on Mars as well as study the planet's ionosphere. Deployment of the boom was originally planned for a year ago but was delayed because of concerns that the boom could whiplash during deployment and damage the spacecraft.
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