MEDIA RELATIONS OFFICE
JET PROPULSION LABORATORY
CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
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Mars Polar Lander Mission Status October 30, 1999 NASA's Mars Polar Lander spacecraft successfully fired itsthrusters for 12 seconds this morning to fine-tune its flight path for arrival at the Martian south pole on December 3.
Flight controllers said the spacecraft performed as planned and that preliminary data show the desired trajectory change was achieved. The thruster firing began at 10:28 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time. Previous thruster firings were accomplished on January 21, March 15, and September 1. The next thruster firing is scheduled for November 30.
The landing site is located at 76 degrees south latitude and 195 degrees west longitude, near the northern edge of the layered terrain in the vicinity of the Martian south pole. The lander is now about 14.3 million kilometers (about 8.9 million miles) from Mars, traveling at a speed of 4.8 kilometers per second (about 10,700 miles per hour) relative to Mars. The spacecraft is about 228 million kilometers (about 142 million miles) from Earth, and has traveled along an arcing flight path of about 690 million kilometers (about 429 million miles) through space since launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on January 3, 1999.
For more information on the mission, see http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/marsnews/ .
Mars Polar Lander is managed for NASA's Office of Space Science by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, Calif.