Mars Odyssey Orbiter Puts Itself Into Standby Safe Mode

July 21, 2010
Artist concept of Odyssey. Image credit: NASA/JPL

(PhysOrg.com) -- NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter put itself into a safe standby mode, and the mission team has begun steps to resume the spacecraft's science and relay operations this week.

NASA's put itself into a safe on Wednesday, July 14, and the team operating the spacecraft has begun implementing careful steps designed to resume Odyssey's science and relay operations this week.

Engineers have diagnosed the cause of the entry as the spacecraft's proper response to unexpected performance by an electronic encoder. That encoder controls motion of a gimbal that adjusts the position of the . Odyssey switched to a redundant encoder, and there is no sign of any mechanical problem with the gimbal.

Commands from Earth have switched Odyssey back to using its high-gain antenna. The programmed response to the detected problem on July 14 initially shifted the spacecraft to slower communication via its low-gain antenna.

The spacecraft team recovered downward-pointing operations, out of safe mode, on Friday, July 16. "We expect to be back to full operations this week," said Odyssey Project Manager Phil Varghese of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

Odyssey has been orbiting Mars since 2001. In addition to its own major scientific discoveries and continuing studies of the planet, the Odyssey mission has played important roles in supporting the missions of the Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity and the .

The rover Opportunity was not able to transmit data to ground controllers via Odyssey while the orbiter was in safe mode. Science activities were delayed, but critical activities have not been affected.

Explore further: One Mars Orbiter Takes First Photos of Other Orbiters

More information: www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/odyssey

Related Stories

Mars Orbiter's Computer Reboots Successfully

March 12, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter properly followed commands today to shut down and restart, a strategy by its engineers to clear any memory flaws accumulated in more than five years since Odyssey's last reboot. ...

Mars Odyssey Orbiter Puts Itself Into Safe Standby

December 1, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter put itself into a safe standby mode on Saturday, Nov. 28, and the team operating the spacecraft has begun implementing careful steps designed to resume Odyssey's science and relay ...

Recommended for you

New Horizons team selects potential Kuiper Belt flyby target

August 29, 2015

NASA has selected the potential next destination for the New Horizons mission to visit after its historic July 14 flyby of the Pluto system. The destination is a small Kuiper Belt object (KBO) known as 2014 MU69 that orbits ...

Prawn Nebula: Cosmic recycling

September 2, 2015

Dominating this image is part of the nebula Gum 56, illuminated by the hot bright young stars that were born within it. For millions of years stars have been created out of the gas in this nebula, material which is later ...

Image: Hubble sees a youthful cluster

August 31, 2015

Shown here in a new image taken with the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) on board the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope is the globular cluster NGC 1783. This is one of the biggest globular clusters in the Large Magellanic ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.