Power-on and checkout of MAVEN's Electra Ultra High Frequency Transceiver

Mar 03, 2014 by Guy Webster
This radio hardware, the Electra UHF Transceiver on NASA's MAVEN mission to Mars, is designed to provide communication relay support for robots on the surface of Mars.

(Phys.org) —The team operating NASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) mission successfully completed, on Feb. 19, 2014, the initial post-launch power-on and checkout of the spacecraft's Electra Ultra High Frequency Transceiver. This wraps up the initial checkouts of all payloads on the MAVEN spacecraft, with everything performing as expected.

MAVEN will examine the upper atmosphere of Mars to provide understanding about processes that led to the loss of much of the original Martian atmosphere. Data and analysis could tell planetary scientists the history of climate change on the Red Planet and provide further information on the history of planetary habitability. The spacecraft was launched on Nov. 18, 2013, and will enter orbit around Mars in September 2014.

The Electra radio payload is part of the NASA Mars Exploration Program's Mars Relay Network. This network is composed of orbiters, including NASA's Mars Odyssey and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, that provide reliable, high-data-rate relay communications links to landers on the surface of Mars, including NASA's Opportunity and Curiosity rovers. Using relay via orbiters, compared with the rovers' capability to transmit directly to Earth, greatly increases science data return from the Martian surface. MAVEN will be available to provide relay services on a contingency basis during its prime science mission and may routinely provide relay support during an anticipated extended mission. MAVEN's Electra payload is provided and operated by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

Since launch, the mission team has checked out MAVEN's three suites of science instruments. The Particles and Fields Package contains six instruments to characterize the solar wind and the ionosphere of Mars. The Remote Sensing Package will determine global characteristics of the upper atmosphere and ionosphere. The Neutral Gas and Ion Mass Spectrometer will measure the composition of Mars' .

Explore further: MAVEN on track to carry out its science mission

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

MAVEN on track to carry out its science mission

Feb 04, 2014

The MAVEN spacecraft and all of its science instruments have completed their initial checkout, and all of them are working as expected. This means that MAVEN is on track to carry out its full science mission ...

Final MAVEN instrument integrated to spacecraft

Apr 03, 2013

(Phys.org) —An instrument that will measure the composition of Mars' upper atmosphere has been integrated to NASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) spacecraft. MAVEN has a scheduled launch ...

Recommended for you

Bad weather delays Japan asteroid probe lift off

6 hours ago

Bad weather will delay the launch of a Japanese space probe on a six-year mission to mine a distant asteroid, just weeks after a European spacecraft's historic landing on a comet captivated the world.

Manchester scientists boost NASA's missions to Mars

14 hours ago

Computer Scientists from The University of Manchester have boosted NASA space missions by pioneering a global project to develop programs that efficiently test and control NASA spacecraft.

ESA image: The gold standard

15 hours ago

The Eutelsat-9B satellite with its EDRS-A payload is shown in the anechoic test chamber of Airbus Defence and Space in Toulouse, France, having completed its final antenna pattern tests today.

Frost-covered chaos on Mars

15 hours ago

Thanks to a break in the dusty 'weather' over the giant Hellas Basin at the beginning of this year, ESA's Mars Express was able to look down into the seven kilometre-deep basin and onto the frosty surface ...

Rosetta's comet: In the shadow of the coma

22 hours ago

This NAVCAM mosaic comprises four individual images taken on 20 November from a distance of 30.8 km from the centre of Comet 67P/C-G. The image resolution is 2.6 m/pixel, so each original 1024 x 1024 pixel ...

User comments : 0

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.