Mars Phoenix Lands Successfully On Red Planet | Aero-News Network
Aero-News Network
RSS icon RSS feed
podcast icon MP3 podcast
Subscribe Aero-News e-mail Newsletter Subscribe

Airborne Unlimited -- Recent Daily Episodes

Episode Date

AMA Drone Report






Airborne-Unmanned w/AUVSI

Airborne On ANN

AMA 09.21.17

Airborne 09.25.17

Airborne 09.26.17

Airborne 09.20.17

Airborne 09.21.17

Airborne 09.22.17

Airborne-Unmanned 09.19.17


AMA 09.21.17

Airborne 09.25.17

Airborne 09.26.17

Airborne 09.20.17

Airborne 09.21.17

Airborne 09.22.17

Airborne-Unmanned 09.19.17

NEW!!! 2017 AirVenture Innovation Preview -- YouTube Presentation / Vimeo Presentation

Sun, May 25, 2008

Mars Phoenix Lands Successfully On Red Planet

Team Delights In Spot-On Landing

296 days after its launch aboard a Delta II launch vehicle, the Phoenix Mars Lander successfully landed on the Martian surface at 1653 PDT with a soft touchdown as planned.
Assisted by communications relays from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and Mars Odyssey, the team at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA said that the landing sequence went as smooth as could be imagined. The mood was tense as the team awaited word on each stage of the system through the 15 minute delay between transmission and receipt of the signal on earth.

After months during the cruise phase filled with testing of procedures, equipment and software in preparation for arrival at Mars the spacecraft completed the 121 million mile journey that started on August 4 of last year. During the course of the cruise phase the Phoenix had six opportunities to fire thrusters to adjust trajectory to assure the "arrow hit the target."

Mission controllers decided Saturday night and Sunday morning to forgo the last two opportunities for adjusting the spacecraft's trajectory.

"We were so well on course that those adjustments were not necessary," said Phoenix Project Manager Barry Goldstein.

As ANN reported two weeks ago, tensions were high as the Phoenix neared the planet and preparations for the landing began.

The most challenging part of the entire mission, getting from the top of the atmosphere to a safe landing on three legs, was the most anticipated portion of the mission by the team. Internationally, only five of the 11 attempts to land a spacecraft on Mars have succeeded.

The intense entry, descent and landing period starting three hours before the spacecraft enters Mars' atmosphere until it reached the ground safely went according to plan. The craft hit the top of the atmosphere at a speed of 5.7 kilometers per second (12,750 miles per hour). Over the next six and a half minutes, it used heat-generating atmospheric friction, then a parachute, then firings of descent thrusters that brought velocity down to about 2.4 meters per second (5.4 miles per hour) just before touchdown.

"This team performed perfectly!" said Peter Smith Phoenix Principal Investigator with the University of Arizona team to NASA TV shortly after the landing was announced.

Unlike the last three successful landings on Mars that used airbags to cushion the impact to the surface, Phoenix used descent thrusters in the final seconds down to the surface and successfully set down onto three legs. The landing system is similar to NASA's 1976 Viking landers.

Within an hour and a half after landing, NASA awaited confirmation of the deployment of the solar array that will provide power to the Phoenix.  Once that confirmation is made by Mars Odyssy in an overflight the lander will be checked for system health and images will start being transmitted from it.

In subsequent days, when the lander has been evaluated as safe to proceed with its science mission, the center of operations will switch to the University of Arizona, Tucson. Over the next week or so, a series of checkouts will characterize the performance and readiness of the lander's subsystems and science instruments. Planned activities for this phase of the mission include using the Robotic Arm Camera to see the footpads and delivering a sample of surface soil.

The Phoenix Mars Mission is the first of NASA's competitively proposed and selected Mars Scout missions, supplementing the agency's core Mars Exploration Program, whose theme is "follow the water."

"The Phoenix mission not only studies the northern permafrost region, but takes the next step in Mars exploration by determining whether this region, which may encompass as much as 25 percent of the Martian surface, is habitable," said Smith.

The University of Arizona was selected to lead the mission in August 2003 and is the first public university to lead a Mars exploration mission.

The Phoenix mission is led by Smith, with project management at JPL. The development partnership is with Lockheed Martin, Denver. International contributions are from the Canadian Space Agency; the University of Neuchatel, Switzerland; the universities of Copenhagen and Aarhus, Denmark; the Max Planck Institute, Germany; and the Finnish Meteorological Institute.

Original Report

1955 EDT: It's down! Moments ago, NASA received confirmation from the Mars Phoenix lander it had landed softly on the surface of the Red Planet.

"Phoenix has landed! Phoenix has landed!" Mission Control exclaimed upon termination of the EDL signal relayed to Earth through the Mars Odyssey, about 90 seconds after the orbiter signaled touchdown on the planet's surface. The signal termination marked the beginning of the lander's autonomous operations.

Radio signals are received by NASA on Earth about 15 minutes after they are transmitted from Mars. 

Confirmation of the next milestone will occur in about one hour, when Phoenix will deploy its twin circular solar panels, and the lander transmits its first pictures from the Martian surface.



More News

FAA Continuing Resolution Defeated In Late Monday Vote

245-171 Vote Fails To Attain 2/3rd's Majority Needed For Extension In a Monday vote to authorize a six-month extension of funding for the FAA, something strange happened... With a >[...]

RFP: ANN Seeking New Site/Facility For Major Studio Upgrade

It's Official: Aggressive Upgrades For New Airborne Programs WILL Require New Digs It's been in development for years, but we're getting to a point where we think we can pull off s>[...]

Airborne-Unmanned 09.19.17: FAA OKs FL Drone Ops, ICAO Registry?, No Pot Drones

Also: FAA Reauthorization, Medical Drone Transport, USMC Quadcopters, Canister Launched UAS, Atlas Dynamics Airborne, primarily based in Jacksonville, FL is starting to recover fro>[...]

AMA Drone Report 09.21.17: AMA Expo West, Parrot Mambo, No Drone Pot Delivery

Also: Drone Injury Study, Cook County-IL, Northeastern Drone Society, Propel Star Wars Drones, GA UAS Integration One of the pinnacle model aviation events of the year is coming up>[...]

Airborne 09.25.17: PAL-V 'Flying Car', Tecnam P2012, G650 TC Anniversary

Also: Virgin Atlantic, SpaceX Video, Wipaire, Women And Drones, Boeing 787, Ameri-King, BelugaXL A PAL-V vice president plans to fly around the world in his personal "flying car", >[...]

blog comments powered by Disqus





© 2007 - 2017 Web Development & Design by Pauli Systems, LC