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Mars Odyssey ready to go into orbit
Posted: Fri, Oct 19, 2001, 1:02 AM ET (0502 GMT)
Mars Odyssey spacecraft illustration NASA's Mars Odyssey spacecraft is on track to go into orbit around Mars next week, project officials said Thursday. The spacecraft will fire its main engine at 10:26 pm EDT October 23 (0223 GMT October 24) for just under 20 minutes to insert itself into an elliptical orbit around Mars. Mars Odyssey will then spend over two months aerobraking into its final circular orbit, 400 kilometers above Mars, before beginning its science mission in early 2002. The spacecraft completed its final course correction last Friday, tweaking its trajectory slightly to adjust the altitude of the spacecraft when it arrives at Mars by just a few kilometers. Mars Odyssey is the first NASA mission to Mars since the failures of the Mars Climate Orbiter and Mars Polar Lander missions two years ago.
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