Solar Conjunction Period
The first period of eclipses has ended, which allows for increased scientific payload activities on the spacecraft. The second eclipse period will start in January 2005 and extend into June 2005. The first occultation period, which was beneficial to radio science measurements, has also ended. The second occultation period will start in December 2004.
The solar conjunction period is, as expected, currently severely impacting the payload activities. No payload operations are planned between 22 August and 27 September 2004, during the period affecting the spacecraft communications with the ground segment. Only solar corona measurements are being performed by the radio science experiment. Following this period, intense scientific activities will resume, with favourable operating conditions for the optical imaging instruments due to improving illumination conditions.
No decision on the deployment of MARSIS has been taken yet.
Around day 290 an opportunity exists to make changes to the current orbit of Mars Express. The SWT will establish the programmatic and scientific need to perform such a manoeuvre.
Data Archiving Status
The independent Mars Express Science Archive review was held at ESTEC on 12 and 13 July 2004. The payload teams are working towards delivering all relevant scientific products in time for the Mars Express Science Archive to be ready at the beginning of 2005.
The ESA SP-1240 dedicated to Mars Express - The Scientific Payload, has been published and is available on-line.