NASA/Kennedy Space Center News Release

      January 5, 2001

      George H. Diller                                                                
      NASA Kennedy Space Center

      KSC Release No.: 2-01


      The first major step toward NASA's return of a spacecraft to an orbit around Mars was achieved late Thursday night, Jan. 4, when the Mars Odyssey spacecraft arrived at Kennedy Space Center, Fla. It was shipped aboard an Air Force C-17 cargo airplane from Denver, Co., location of the Lockheed Martin plant where the spacecraft was built.

      Mars Odyssey was moved on a transport trailer from KSC's Shuttle Landing Facility to the Spacecraft Assembly and Encapsulation Facility 2 (SAEF-2) located in the KSC Industrial Area. There it will undergo final assembly and checkout. This includes installation of two of the three science instruments, integration of the three-panel solar array, and a spacecraft functional test. It will be fueled and then mated to an upper stage booster, the final activities before going to the launch pad.

      Launch is planned for April 7, 2001 -- the first day of a 21-day planetary window. Mars Odyssey will be inserted into an interplanetary trajectory by a Boeing Delta II launch vehicle from Pad A at Complex 17 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. The spacecraft will arrive at Mars on Oct. 20, 2001 for insertion into an initial elliptical capture orbit. Its final operational altitude will be a 250-mile-high Sun-synchronous polar orbit. Mars Odyssey will spend two years mapping the planet's surface and measuring its environment.

      "Ultimately the spacecraft could contribute significantly toward understanding what may be necessary for a more sophisticated exploration of Mars," said George Pace, Mars Odyssey Project Manger.

      The program management of the Mars Odyssey mission is by the Office of Space Science at NASA Headquarters, Washington, D.C. with project management by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA. Launch management is by NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Fla.

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