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May 20, 1999

Mars Climate Orbiter (MCO)

The MCO spacecraft experienced another relatively quiet week of cruise following last week's rerun of the UHF radio checkout. In order to make adequate provision for both MCO and MPL system test work in the ground-based simulator facilities, the flight team has decided to move the MCO "all-stellar" demonstration and checkout from the last week in May to June 10-11. This move allows sufficient time for MCO system testing of the orbiter/lander UHF contact seequences to continue, while much of the simulator time is still devoted to "all-stellar" certification testing.

Mars Polar Lander (MPL)

Other than some diagnostic commanding to interrogate the lander's software system, MPL also experienced an uneventful week in cruise. The bulk of the flight team's effort in the MPL mission is now focused on developing an end-to-end test of the preprogrammed command sequences which will operate the spacecraft during its first few days on the Martian surface. This testing is planned for the first two weeks of June, and will be the prelude to an initial series of flight team training exercises to rehearse the complete team's activities covering landing day (Dec. 3, 1999) through the first four days of surface operations.

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