Navigating Mars reconnaissance orbiter: Launch through primary science orbit

  • You T
  • Halsell A
  • Graat E
 et al. 
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The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) launched on 12 August 2005 from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. After seven months of cruise, MRO reached Mars and successfully performed the Mars Orbit Insertion (MOI) maneuver. Only two Trajectory Correction Maneuvers were required during interplanetary cruise, this achievement is unprecedented. Shortly after the arrival at Mars, MRO started its most intensive operation, aerobraking, which brought the post-MOI 35-hour orbit to a 2-hour near circular orbit. The final primary science orbit was established at 3:02 pm LMST in a 255km × 320km orbit after five orbit-adjust maneuvers were executed flawlessly during the transition phase. This paper describes the navigation operation from launch through the primary science phase. A robust and precise navigation enabled MRO to accomplish the objectives set by the Mars Exploration Program.

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  • T.-H. You

  • A. Halsell

  • E. Graat

  • S. Demcak

  • D. Highsmith

  • S. Long

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