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Mars Odyssey finishes aerobraking
Posted: Sat, Jan 12, 2002, 10:58 AM ET (1558 GMT)
Mars Odyssey spacecraft illustration NASA's Mars Odyssey spacecraft concluded the aerobraking phase of its mission Friday, maneuvering out of the atmosphere close to its final planned orbit. A thruster burn at 3:18 am EST (0818 GMT) Friday raised the periapsis of Mars Odyssey's orbit 85 km to 201 km. The maneuver ends the series of passes through the planet's upper atmosphere that gradually altered the orbit from its initial elliptical 18.5-hour orbit. The spacecraft is currently in a 201-by-500-km orbit; thruster firings over the next few weeks will move it into its final 400-km orbit. Mars Odyssey will begin scientific operations in late February. The spacecraft carries instruments to map the chemical and mineralogical composition of the Martian surface and look for evidence of water.
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