2001 Mars Odyssey Project Report

Economy – Quantitative Finance – Risk Management

Scientific paper

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Scientific paper

The Mars Odyssey Project is the latest in an ongoing series of robotic missions to Mars within NASA's Mars Exploration Program. The Program goals include the global observation of Mars, to enable understanding of the Mars climatic and geologic history, including the search for liquid water and the evidence of prior or extant life. The Odyssey orbiter carries scientific payloads that will determine surface elemental composition, mineralogy and morphology, and measure the Mars radiation environment from orbit. In addition, the orbiter will serve as a data relay for future landers. Odyssey was designed and developed through a partnership between the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, and Lockheed Martin Astronautics in Denver, Colorado. Odyssey was launched atop a Boeing 7925 launch vehicle on April 7, 2001, from Kennedy Space Center. The 200-day journey to Mars was marked by four trajectory correction maneuvers, and numerous spacecraft and payload calibration activities. The final maneuver was performed 12 days prior to encounter, and successfully targeted the spacecraft to the desired arrival conditions 300 km above the North Pole of Mars. The 20-minute orbit insertion burn was the only use of the bipropellant propulsion system on the spacecraft. The burn executed as planned on October 24, 2001, capturing the spacecraft into an 18.6-hour orbit around Mars. The subsequent aerobraking phase was designed to gradually reduce the orbit period by flying through the upper atmosphere of Mars on each orbit, allowing atmospheric drag to remove energy from the orbit. Aerobraking was the most demanding operational phase of the mission, requiring continuous monitoring and control of the spacecraft to ensure health and safety. The aerobraking phase was successfully completed on January 11, 2002 after 76 days and 332 drag passes through the Martian atmosphere. Following completion of the aerobraking phase, a series of five propulsive maneuvers were performed to trim the orbit to the desired frozen orbit for science operations. The high gain antenna was deployed, and the spacecraft was nadir-pointed to begin the science mission on February 19, 2002. The Odyssey science payload includes the Gamma Ray Spectrometer (GRS), the Mars Radiation Environment Experiment (MARIE), and the Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS). The GRS is a suite of three instruments: the gamma sensor head, a neutron spectrometer (NS), and a high-energy neutron detector (HEND). The NS and HEND are mounted on the body of the spacecraft, while the gamma sensor head is mounted on a 6-meter boom, which was deployed on June 4, 2002. Early measurements by the GRS suite have indicated the presence of a large abundance of water ice poleward of 60°S. THEMIS and MARIE observations are proceeding as planned, generating a wealth of science data to be distributed to the science community via NASA's Planetary Data System. Following the failure of the 1998 Mars Climate Orbiter, the Odyssey project placed special emphasis on its approach toward risk management. The risk management program was designed to maximize the probability of mission success within the available resources, while simultaneously ensuring that the risk posture of the Odyssey project was communicated to all key stakeholders. This paper will present an overview of the Odyssey project, including the key elements of the spacecraft design, mission design and navigation, mission operations, and the science approach. The project's risk management process will be described. Initial findings of the science team will be summarized.

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