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Thread: Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter

  1. #31
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    Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Mission Takes Shape

    The orbiter is undergoing environmental tests in facilities at Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Denver, Colo., where its Atlas V launch vehicle is also being prepared. Developments are on schedule for a launch window that begins on Aug. 10.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ToSeek
    Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Mission Takes Shape

    The orbiter is undergoing environmental tests in facilities at Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Denver, Colo., where its Atlas V launch vehicle is also being prepared. Developments are on schedule for a launch window that begins on Aug. 10.

    Speaking of MR.O, which will contain a ground-penetrating radar, whatever happened to MARSIS on the Mars Express? A study of the dangers of unfolding it was supposed to be completed a couple of months ago?

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    Quote Originally Posted by kg034
    Speaking of MR.O, which will contain a ground-penetrating radar, whatever happened to MARSIS on the Mars Express? A study of the dangers of unfolding it was supposed to be completed a couple of months ago?
    According to this New Scientist article, deployment was further delayed, in October, to no earlier than March 2005, when Mars Express stops going into Mars' shadow.
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    Skepticism enables us to distinguish fancy from fact, to test our speculations. --Carl Sagan

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    Quote Originally Posted by 01101001
    Quote Originally Posted by kg034
    Speaking of MR.O, which will contain a ground-penetrating radar, whatever happened to MARSIS on the Mars Express? A study of the dangers of unfolding it was supposed to be completed a couple of months ago?
    According to this New Scientist article, deployment was further delayed, in October, to no earlier than March 2005, when Mars Express stops going into Mars' shadow.

    Danke schon! ....I knew they should've put feedback control on that thing"

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    I couldn't be thrilled in any way for this mission. I'm sorry, but there are some pretty good satelites around mars as we speak, and other then the Shadar, it seems like this mission bring nothing to the table other then "newer pictures". I know of course that they probably do a ton of other stuff, but on the surface I seems like nothing new.

    It's a snack between the rovers and the Phoenix mission, which I think they could have invested diffrently. I'm sorry but my priorities aren't with the whole "race to Mars", and I certainly don't like the whole hype the media makes of finding water all the time on that planet, and it looks like this satelite will just do the same as the rovers are doing right now: find even more water. By now you'd think that the whole planet is immerged in the stuff.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Mistermystery
    I couldn't be thrilled in any way for this mission....
    You should read up on the mission here. I'm sure you'll find that the MRO is much more than a simple piece of eye candy engineering.

    ...John...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mistermystery
    I couldn't be thrilled in any way for this mission. I'm sorry, but there are some pretty good satelites around mars as we speak, and other then the Shadar, it seems like this mission bring nothing to the table other then "newer pictures". I know of course that they probably do a ton of other stuff, but on the surface I seems like nothing new.

    It's a snack between the rovers and the Phoenix mission, which I think they could have invested diffrently. I'm sorry but my priorities aren't with the whole "race to Mars", and I certainly don't like the whole hype the media makes of finding water all the time on that planet, and it looks like this satelite will just do the same as the rovers are doing right now: find even more water. By now you'd think that the whole planet is immerged in the stuff.
    Errrr....... have you seen any of the pictures from Opportunity?, no other location where probes have landed look anything like that, no where on Earth looks like that either.

    And if you have so little interest in Mars why are you in a Mars forum?

  8. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mistermystery
    By now you'd think that the whole planet is immerged in the stuff.

    Heh, well, considering the evidence, it just might still be immersed, just not in the Terran sense.

    A good chunk of our interest in Mars is the hunt for life, past, present and future. Water is a key to this. We're seeing evidence of major water presence in the past and we're looking at pictures which could well signal its presence in some minute form even today. Which means that even if there's no life there now, there could be someday.

    You come down on the hunt for water, but I remind you that the hunt is not only driving Martian exploration, its also driving Lunar exploration (Clementine, among others) and the proposed JIMO mission back to the Galilean satellites.

    The hunt for water in the solar system is as crucial as any other mission we launch, because while other missions tell us about the places we'll likely never be able to go, missions looking for water give us a pretty good idea of where we WILL be able to go.

  9. #39
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    Re: snack

    Quote Originally Posted by Mistermystery
    It's a snack between the rovers and the Phoenix mission, which I think they could have invested diffrently.
    I was just enjoying a Snickers Cruncher together with a cool Beck's Gold when I saw your photo #-o and thought mine was the better choice! :P

    Anyway, at Mars you need both powerful orbiters and rovers working hand in hand. MRO will make images of such high res that it will in some aspects virtually reach the resolution of a nav cam on a rover. It will have instruments for remote chemical analysis. If that's not exciting, then what is?

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    Re: snack

    Quote Originally Posted by synthomus
    Quote Originally Posted by Mistermystery
    It's a snack between the rovers and the Phoenix mission, which I think they could have invested diffrently.
    I was just enjoying a Snickers Cruncher together with a cool Beck's Gold when I saw your photo #-o and thought mine was the better choice! :P

    Anyway, at Mars you need both powerful orbiters and rovers working hand in hand. MRO will make images of such high res that it will in some aspects virtually reach the resolution of a nav cam on a rover. It will have instruments for remote chemical analysis. If that's not exciting, then what is?
    Wiping my feet before entering the airlock. The straight science is a fantastic pursuit on its own, but its all leading somewhere in the end.

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    Quote Originally Posted by John M. Dollan
    You should read up on the mission here. I'm sure you'll find that the MRO is much more than a simple piece of eye candy engineering.
    I did, and like I said the Shadar is about the only piece of hardware that seems like a bit of scientifical appealing. The others are either allready availble on mars, or will be better in upcomming missions (like Phoenix for instance). A little repetition is good, but as far as I can see their main targets are just to get some eye-candy
    (Daily global mapping and profiling, Regional surveys, Globally distributed targeting of hundreds of specific sites).
    Quote Originally Posted by EFossa
    Errrr....... have you seen any of the pictures from Opportunity?, no other location where probes have landed look anything like that, no where on Earth looks like that either.
    Yes so? Should we therefor spend x-illion on sending random missions with little of none scientific value?

    Quote Originally Posted by Efossa
    And if you have so little interest in Mars why are you in a Mars forum?
    Am I not allowed to voice my opinion on various missions? Just because I don't aprove of all missions, and don't have mars on the first spot on *my* priority list doesn't mean I dislike everything about mars.

    Quote Originally Posted by Doodler
    Heh, well, considering the evidence, it just might still be immersed, just not in the Terran sense.
    I was more or less joking on the immersed part, plus it gave me a good opertunity to show my " water on mars" picture.

    Quote Originally Posted by Doodler
    You come down on the hunt for water, but I remind you that the hunt is not only driving Martian exploration, its also driving Lunar exploration (Clementine, among others) and the proposed JIMO mission back to the Galilean satellites.
    I suppose you are correct here. Maybe I'm just looking to much into this, but I saw it as one of the main reasons to start this mission. Mind you that I didn't mind to say that looking for water is bad.

    Quote Originally Posted by synthomus
    It will have instruments for remote chemical analysis. If that's not exciting, then what is?
    MSL for instance to name one is much more packed with various instruments (like Laser Induced Remote Sensing for Chemistry and Micro-Imaging, Mars Hand Lens Imager, Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer, X-Ray Diffraction/X-Ray Fluorescence Instrument, Radiation Assessment Detector, Mars Descent Imager, Gas Chromatograph Mass Spectrometer/Tunable Laser Spectrometer, Pulsed Neutron Source and Detector, Meteorological Package with Ultraviolet Sensor)

    I'm sorry but if I look to the future on a short term scale, this mission is pretty nifty. If I look in the long run I hardly see any reason why it should be build.

  12. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mistermystery
    Quote Originally Posted by synthomus
    It will have instruments for remote chemical analysis. If that's not exciting, then what is?
    MSL for instance to name one is much more packed with various instruments (like Laser Induced Remote Sensing for Chemistry and Micro-Imaging, Mars Hand Lens Imager, Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer, X-Ray Diffraction/X-Ray Fluorescence Instrument, Radiation Assessment Detector, Mars Descent Imager, Gas Chromatograph Mass Spectrometer/Tunable Laser Spectrometer, Pulsed Neutron Source and Detector, Meteorological Package with Ultraviolet Sensor)

    I'm sorry but if I look to the future on a short term scale, this mission is pretty nifty. If I look in the long run I hardly see any reason why it should be build.
    One of the main justifications for MRO is to decide where MSL should land.
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    Future lander missions will have limited direct communications abilities without orbiting communications satellites. Isnít some of the rational behind continually updating the orbiters to make sure the landers have a way to relay their messages? Spirit and Opportunity would have had a much harder time of it without Odyssey and Express overhead. Coming late to the post; hope I didn't duplicate!

  14. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mistermystery
    I did, and like I said the Shadar is about the only piece of hardware that seems like a bit of scientifical appealing. The others are either allready availble on mars, or will be better in upcomming missions (like Phoenix for instance). A little repetition is good, but as far as I can see their main targets are just to get some eye-candy
    (Daily global mapping and profiling, Regional surveys, Globally distributed targeting of hundreds of specific sites).
    The MRO is going to be very instrumental in deciding *where* Phoenix, as well as future landers, will be touching down. Also, the MRO is a step in a long range program to explore Mars. Sure, you could just wait until a more advanced probe shows up, but then you would be missing a step, and the potential for a major stumble is presented. Besides, by that logic, there should be no probes or landers at Mars now, and we should be waiting for... well, the first manned landing, I suppose. But then we get back to that whole missing a step or two thing....

    Ride with this. If there was no valuable scientific data to be gathered that couldn't be gathered now, or if this were simply an eye candy trip, then trust me, the cash-strapped NASA would *never* have even approved this project, much less actually built the thing and enter into the final prep-steps to launch it.

    ...John...

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChaosInc
    Future lander missions will have limited direct communications abilities without orbiting communications satellites. Isnít some of the rational behind continually updating the orbiters to make sure the landers have a way to relay their messages? Spirit and Opportunity would have had a much harder time of it without Odyssey and Express overhead. Coming late to the post; hope I didn't duplicate!
    Yes. MRO will have the most powerful and sophisticated communications relay capability yet.
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  16. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mistermystery

    Quote Originally Posted by Doodler
    Heh, well, considering the evidence, it just might still be immersed, just not in the Terran sense.
    I was more or less joking on the immersed part, plus it gave me a good opertunity to show my " water on mars" picture.
    And I was taking the sentence mildly out of context for the sake of humor.
    Quote Originally Posted by Mistermystery
    Quote Originally Posted by Doodler
    You come down on the hunt for water, but I remind you that the hunt is not only driving Martian exploration, its also driving Lunar exploration (Clementine, among others) and the proposed JIMO mission back to the Galilean satellites.
    I suppose you are correct here. Maybe I'm just looking to much into this, but I saw it as one of the main reasons to start this mission. Mind you that I didn't mind to say that looking for water is bad.
    Unfortunately, that's how you came across on first reading. The search for water with these probes is twofold. One, we're looking for life in some form or another, and water is the ultimate key to it (that we know of). So any chance for the presence of water in abundance immediately sets off the possibility that there could be some kind of life. Particularly liquid water. The second is that we're still looking to leave this planet for some duration in the future. Where water exists, there also exists the possibility of long term human habitation.

    With respect to the various explorations that the hunt for water fuels, you have the Moon, where no life probably ever existed, but a very close destination for long term human habitation. You have Europa, where no human will likely ever set foot, but the possibility of a life sustaining deep ocean keeps the possibility of life VERY close to the forefront. Then there's Mars, where the presence of seas of water and the ongoing presence of subsurface water (or even surface brines), dovetails both. The possibility that life may have once been there, and the possibility that human life may yet take root there.

  17. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mistermystery
    Quote Originally Posted by synthomus
    It will have instruments for remote chemical analysis. If that's not exciting, then what is?
    MSL for instance to name one is much more packed with various instruments
    I share your enthusiasm for the MSL and can't wait to see it getting launched. Yet it's a sophisticated rover that needs development time. If there was a tradeoff between an overhasty development timeline and the chance for better testing (and perhaps sending two MSL at once! =D>), I would even favour to postpone the launch to 2011. Though I hope that won't become necessary.

    Anyway, I remember the long and dreary post-Viking years, so I know to cherish the current approach of using every launch window to Mars. I wish we had a similar dedication in exploring places like Europa and Titan as we have in visiting Mars!

    :-k To resume the water issue, does anyone know which probe will be more powerful in detecting underground aquifers: Mars Express (once its antenna gets deployed) or MRO?

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    I suspect the two radars are complemntary, with different mission objectives. So I am not sure we can say which one is better without asking "Better for what"?

    Jon

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    Quote Originally Posted by synthomus
    :-k To resume the water issue, does anyone know which probe will be more powerful in detecting underground aquifers: Mars Express (once its antenna gets deployed) or MRO?
    Did they make a decision for MArch deployment? Last I heard was that a decision was going to be made in January. Still gots a day left!

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    NASA's Next Mars Spacecraft Arrives in Florida for Final Checkout

    A large spacecraft destined to be Earth's next robotic emissary to Mars has completed the first leg of its journey, a cargo-plane ride from Colorado to Florida in preparation for an August launch. NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter is an important next step in fulfilling NASA's vision of space exploration and ultimately sending human explorers to Mars and beyond.

    The spacecraft's prime mission will run through 2010. During this period, the project will study Mars' composition and structure, from atmosphere to underground, in much greater detail than any previous orbiter. It will also evaluate possible sites for future martian landings and will serve as a high-data-rate communications relay for surface missions.

    "Great work by a talented team has brought Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter to this milestone in our progress toward a successful mission," said Jim Graf of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., project manager for the mission.

    The spacecraft arrived at Kennedy Space Center's Shuttle Landing Facility on April 30 aboard a C-17 cargo plane and was taken to the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility to begin processing. It was built near Denver by Lockheed Martin Space Systems. Launch is scheduled for Aug. 10 at 7:53:58 a.m. EDT (4:53:58 a.m. PDT), at the opening of a two-hour launch window.

    The spacecraft will undergo multiple mechanical assembly operations and electrical tests to verify its readiness for launch. A test this month will verify the spacecraft's ability to communicate through NASA's Deep Space Network tracking stations. A June test will check the deployment of the spacecraft's high gain communications antenna. Another major deployment test will check out the spacecraft's large solar arrays.

    In July, the spacecraft will be filled with hydrazine fuel for the "Mars orbit insertion" engine burn, which will be used to reduce the velocity of the spacecraft and place it in orbit around Mars. The fuel also will be used for attitude-control propellant. On July 26 the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter will be encapsulated in the Atlas V fairing prior to being moved to its launch site on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

    The Lockheed Martin Atlas V arrived at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station aboard an Antonov cargo plane on March 31 and was taken to the high bay at the Atlas Spaceflight Operations Center. The Atlas booster will be transported in May to the Vertical Integration Facility at Space Launch Complex 41 to be erected. The Centaur upper stage will be transported to that facility for hoisting atop the booster in June.

    Prelaunch preparations will include a "wet dress rehearsal" in July, during which the Atlas V will be rolled from the Vertical Integration Facility to the launch pad on its mobile launch platform. The vehicle will be fully fueled with RP-1, liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen, and the team will perform a simulated countdown. The Atlas V will then be rolled back into the Vertical Integration Facility for final launch preparations.

    The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter will be transported from the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility at Kennedy Space Center to the Vertical Integration Facility on July 29. It will be hoisted atop the launch vehicle to join the Atlas V for the final phase of launch preparations. The spacecraft is scheduled to undergo a functional test on August 1, followed by a final week of launch vehicle and spacecraft closeouts.

    The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter mission is managed by JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, for the NASA Science Mission Directorate, Washington. Lockheed Martin Space Systems is the prime contractor for the project. International Launch Services, a Lockheed Martin joint venture, and Lockheed Martin Space Systems are providing launch services for the mission.

    Information about Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter is available online at http://marsprogram.jpl.nasa.gov/mro .
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    News briefing on NASA TV

    NASA announced launch opportunities start Aug. 10, 2005, for the agency's next mission to Mars. NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) is a robotic spacecraft, and it will examine the mysterious red planet in unprecedented detail. This important step in a long-range vision for exploring Mars is the subject for a news briefing at 1 p.m. EDT, Thursday, July 21, in the NASA Headquarters auditorium, 300 E St. SW, Washington.

    Briefing participants:
    -- Douglas McCuistion, NASA Mars Exploration Program Director, Science Mission Directorate, Washington
    -- Michael Meyer, Mars Exploration Program Chief Scientist, Science Mission Directorate
    -- James Graf, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Project Manager, JPL
    -- Richard Zurek, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Project Scientist, JPL
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  22. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mistermystery
    I couldn't be thrilled in any way for this mission. I'm sorry, but there are some pretty good satelites around mars as we speak, and other then the Shadar, it seems like this mission bring nothing to the table other then "newer pictures". I know of course that they probably do a ton of other stuff, but on the surface I seems like nothing new.
    Don't knock 'newer pictures'. The landing sites for the Viking mission were chosen on the basis of the best photos from the Mariner 9 probe. (Similarly Viking photos were used to plan the Pathfinder Landing.)

    When the Viking orbiters reached Mars, their higher resolution cameras revealed the pre-selected landing sites were unusable. (Which is why Viking 1 did not land on the 4th of July 1976 as planned.)

    Similarly while the Viking orbiters could not image the landers from orbit, MGS is able to do this using a motion compensation technique.

    The MRO should, if I have read the specifications correctly, be able to do this without having to resort to motion compensation.

  23. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by jt-3d
    Great, double the size of my telescope and then shoot it off into space why don't ya? I think we should spread it around a little bit. I'm still waiting for those cool pics of Pluto, fellers.
    I agree. No more probes to Mars for awhile. If Spirit and Opp are so good--let them be and don't launch anything else till we get bigger rockets.

    MRO is another distraction we don't need.

    I did love that blurb about how the Atlas V needed to be transported by the Antonov 8)

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    IIRC, MRO is not to be launched by Delta II--but by Atlas V.

    The last NASA mission atop an Atlas/Centaur was in 1978!

    It's been too long. They were even able to put some extra propellant on board it. That's what better rockets get you.

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    Everything I need to know I learned through Googling.

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    Five Easy Pieces
    The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter


    Jim Graf, Project Manager for the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, gave a talk where he provided an overview of the mission. In part one of this edited transcript, Graf discusses previous studies of Mars, and describes the steps that will put MRO in orbit around the Red Planet.
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    Launch Delayed until at least tomorrow.

    http://marsprogram.jpl.nasa.gov/mro/...20050809b.html

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    Quote Originally Posted by publiusr
    IIRC, MRO is not to be launched by Delta II--but by Atlas V.

    The last NASA mission atop an Atlas/Centaur was in 1978!

    It's been too long. They were even able to put some extra propellant on board it. That's what better rockets get you.
    I was the Systems Engineer for CRRES, a joint NASA/AF mission that was launched on an Atlas Centaur in 1990. AC 69, the first "commercial" Atlas Centaur launch. NASA obtained the launch by trading assets they owned from the Shuttle Centaur cancelation to General Dynamics for a commercial launch - so NASA actually paid for the launch even though the payload was joint with the Air Force. This was a very successful launch into an inclined highly elliptical geosynchronous transfer orbit. NASA performed several active experiments with chemical releases and the AF mapped the radiation environment and obtained data on electronics shielding and hardening performance in a severe natural environment.
    I was working at Ball Aerospace at the time. They also built the fantastic MRO High Resolution Camera for the U of Arizona that is sitting on the pad awaiting launch.

  29. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Kierein
    Quote Originally Posted by publiusr
    IIRC, MRO is not to be launched by Delta II--but by Atlas V.

    The last NASA mission atop an Atlas/Centaur was in 1978!

    It's been too long. They were even able to put some extra propellant on board it. That's what better rockets get you.
    I was the Systems Engineer for CRRES, a joint NASA/AF mission that was launched on an Atlas Centaur in 1990. AC 69, the first "commercial" Atlas Centaur launch. NASA obtained the launch by trading assets they owned from the Shuttle Centaur cancelation to General Dynamics for a commercial launch - so NASA actually paid for the launch even though the payload was joint with the Air Force. This was a very successful launch into an inclined highly elliptical geosynchronous transfer orbit. NASA performed several active experiments with chemical releases and the AF mapped the radiation environment and obtained data on electronics shielding and hardening performance in a severe natural environment.
    I was working at Ball Aerospace at the time. They also built the fantastic MRO High Resolution Camera for the U of Arizona that is sitting on the pad awaiting launch.
    I think the Av Week column I was refering to meant the last dedicated probe sent out atop any Atlas Centaur. I'd call CRRES more of an AF mission myself--but that's me. We will be seeing more shuttle-centaur tech with ATKs "stick' perhaps.

    Sad:
    http://www.cnn.com/2005/TECH/space/0....ap/index.html

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    MRO to launch Thursday morning!

    The launch vehicle for NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) has been cleared for flight. The launch is scheduled for Thursday, August 11. The launch window is from 7:50 a.m. to 9:35 a.m. EDT.

    The launch was postponed for 24 hours due to a failure of a Redundant Rate Gryo Unit (RRGU) at the manufacturer. The unit is similar to two RRGU's that are part of the flight control system on MRO's Atlas V launch vehicle. The decision to go ahead with Thursday's launch was made today by launch vehicle engineers following test and evaluation of the failed RRGUs at the manufacturer. Similar units on the Atlas V at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Complex 41 were deemed acceptable for MRO's launch.

    ...

    NASA TV live coverage of the launch begins at 5:30 a.m. EDT.

    For information about the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter on the Web, visit http://www.nasa.gov/mro
    I think I'll sleep through it. :-)

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