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Mars Pathfinder Mission Status

7 March 1997

The spacecraft is currently about 37 million kilometers from Earth and continues to function as expected. The total travel distance covered since launch is 248 million kilometers, which means that the spacecraft has reached the halfway point to Mars. A set of Entry, Descent, and Landing communications tests were started this week using the spacecraft and the Deep Space Network Galileo Telemetry recorders at Goldstone. These tests are meant to simulate the open loop strategy that we intend to use during entry to record significant events. The first test was successfully completed on March 3, and three additional tests will be performed during the next week.

The project completed Surface Operational Readiness Test #3 on March 7-8. This test was the first formal operations test after launch, and was designed to test the nominal Sol 1 and 2 sequences. Although there were a few start up problems, the test was generally successful. All elements of the project worked well together to complete the critical Sol 1 operations and re-plan Sol 2.

The Rover Operations Team performed remote field testing on Monday and Tuesday. With the SIM Rover at Amboy Crater, the Operations Team ran four Martian sol sequences from JPL. The sequences included navigation and traverse activities, and science and technology experiments. The Pathfinder Science Team also participated in the testing.

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