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Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Interplanetary Cruise Navigation

Abstract

Carrying six science instruments and three engineering payloads, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) is the first mission in a low Mars orbit to characterize the surface, subsurface, and atmospheric properties with unprecedented detail. After a seven-month interplanetary cruise, MRO arrived at Mars executing a 1.0 km/s Mars Orbit Insertion (MOI) maneuver. MRO achieved a 430 km periapsis altitude with the final orbit solution indicating that only 10 km was attributable to navigation prediction error. With the last interplanetary maneuver performed four months before MOI, this was a significant accomplishment. This paper describes the navigation analyses and results during the 210-day interplanetary cruise. As of August 2007 MRO has returned more than 18 Terabits of scientific data in support of the objectives set by the Mars Exploration Program (MEP). The robust and exceptional interplanetary navigation performance paved the way for a successful MRO mission

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This paper was published in NASA Technical Reports Server.

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