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Mars Express Status Report - November 2003

Mars Express Status Report - November 2003

Summary of overall statusThe Mars Express spacecraft, despite a series of intense solar flares that occurred late October-early November in active sunspots regions, is in good health and is operating normally.

The spacecraft flew in the intense radiation environment that resulted from the exceptional solar and geomagnetic activity associated with these regions, temporarily causing disturbances on the star trackers. These disturbances, which were over within a few days, did not cause damage and did not constitute a threat to the mission.

The main engine calibration has been performed successfully. Following the trajectory correction manoeuvre performed on 10 November, the spacecraft is now on course to Mars for the upcoming Beagle-2 ejection. The characterisation of the solar array confirmed the nominal performance of this subsystem.

Preparations and simulations for Beagle-2 ejection and Mars Orbit Insertion are entering the final stages. The Beagle-2 lander separation will take place on 19 December 2003. It will descend through the Martian atmosphere and land on the planet on 25 December 2003. The Mars Express spacecraft will undergo Mars orbit insertion (MOI) on 25 December 2003.

The Interplanetary Cruise payload commissioning phase is now completed. No further payload activities were done in Interplanetary Cruise since the last status report. Several planned payload activities (for example, ASPERA, radio science) have been postponed until after MOI. A Mars observation sequence (imaging and spectroscopy) involving the OMEGA, HRSC and SPICAM instruments is scheduled for the 1st of December.

All Beagle-2 checkouts have been successful, as well as a recently completed Beagle-2 lander software upload. Detailed lander surface operations are being finalised for the first few days on the surface of Mars. Some of these operations will be coordinated with high-resolution remote sensing by the orbiter during several flyovers of the Beagle-2 landing site in Isidis Planitia.

The planning for Mars commissioning and initial science operations after MOI is progressing nominally. Payload activity timelines are being prepared for the first few months in orbit, with the goal of optimising the scientific return while keeping within the limits of the power budget.

Orbital/Trajectory Information

Information on the spacecraft's position and remaining distance to Mars can be viewed under "Orbit View" on the sidebar navigation.

Today, 28 November 2003, Mars Express is 28 days from Mars Orbit Insertion.

Scientific Payload Status

Instrument

Activities since last report

Status

ASPERA

None

Nominal

HRSC

None

Nominal

MARSIS

None

Nominal

OMEGA

None

Nominal

PFS

None

Nominal

SPICAM

None

Nominal

BEAGLE-2

Checkout and Software Upload

Nominal

Last Update: 1 September 2019
17-Oct-2021 06:22 UT

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https://sci.esa.int/s/wRe7kNA

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