TS News - Mars Global Surveyor Launched

TELE-satellit News, 8 November 1996

Mars Global Surveyor Launched
  CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida, USA, 96/11/07 (JSR) -- Mars Global Surveyor,
NASA's probe to map the Martian surface and the first of three Mars probes
due for launch this window, was launched at 1700 UTC on Nov 7. The McDonnell
Douglas Delta 7925 launch vehicle took off from Cape Canaveral Launch
Complex 17, with nine GEM solid motors attached to the Thor-derived first stage.

  First stage separation was four minutes into the flight, and the Delta
second stage then ignited. The second stage uses an AJ-10-118 engine and a
structure derived from the old Ablestar rockets used to launch the early
Transits. The second stage cut off at 9 minutes into the flight, placing MGS
into a 185 x 185 km x 28.5 deg orbit.

  At 1741 UTC the second stage ignited again for two minutes, and the
vehicle entered a 173 x 4720 km x 28.5 deg orbit. The spin table on the
second stage then began to rotate at 60 rpm, spinning up the third stage and
payload to stabilized them. At 1744 the second stage separated and half a
minute later the Thiokol Star 48 solid motor on the PAM-D third stage
ignited to enter an escape trajectory. At 1752 the third stage deployed
`yo-yo' masses on  long wires to carry away the angular momentum and spin
down the vehicle, and then separated from the MGS probe which is now en
route to Mars. Meanwhile, the second stage was due to fire again to get rid
of all extra fuel and prevent it exploding later (this was a problem with
Delta stages in the 1970s).

  By: Jonathan McDowell
  Source: Jonathon's Space Report

(c)TELE-satellit 1996. All rights reserved.

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