First MARSIS Boom Deployed
31 May 2005 15:13
Overall Mission and Payload Status
The Mars Express spacecraft and payload instruments are in good condition. Mars Express payload operations were stopped on 27 April in order to perform an avoidance manoeuvre with Mars Odyssey as well as to start the MARSIS deployment phase.
The deployment of the first MARSIS antenna boom has been completed. Following the difficulties encountered during the deployment of this first boom, technical analyses are being made in order to understand what happened and to properly assess the risks associated with the deployment of the second antenna boom. A go/no go decision will shortly be taken regarding the second and third boom deployments.
In the current situation, the robust control mode is being used on the spacecraft, with the consequence that it puts stringent limitations on pointing usage by science.
A Solid State Mass Memory software upload was successfully performed last week. This upload on the spacecraft will solve some known anomalies that can have non-negligible impact on the payload activities.
Science Planning Status
The orbit of Mars Express is drifting, following Mars Odyssey avoidance and the first MARSIS boom deployment. The science planning for the Medium-Term Plans of July and August 2005 is being redone, with this new orbit, and limited science activities will restart shortly. The scientific measurements to be made during this period will be with no power limitations (no eclipses), excellent data downlink rate, and favourable Sun illumination. This period is very important for the optical instruments.
Science Data Archiving
The next Mars Express data delivery to the Planetary Science Archive (PSA) of ESA will take place in June 2005. Following a few weeks of internal validation the data will then be offered via the PSA to the science community.