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

March 3, 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

Related Stories

MAVEN on track to carry out its science mission

February 4, 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 as originally ...

Final MAVEN instrument integrated to spacecraft

April 3, 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 date of Nov. 18.

Recommended for you

Neural networks promise sharpest ever images

February 22, 2017

Telescopes, the workhorse instruments of astronomy, are limited by the size of the mirror or lens they use. Using 'neural nets', a form of artificial intelligence, a group of Swiss researchers now have a way to push past ...

Lowest-frequency accreting millisecond X-ray pulsar found

February 22, 2017

(Phys.org)—Astronomers have found the lowest-frequency accreting millisecond X-ray pulsar in the X-ray source known as IGR J17062−6143. By analyzing the data provided by the Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer (RXTE) spacecraft, ...

Surprising dunes on comet Chury

February 22, 2017

Surprising images from the Rosetta spacecraft show the presence of dune-like patterns on the surface of comet Chury. Researchers at the Laboratoire de Physique et Mécanique des Milieux Hétérogènes (CNRS/ESPCI Paris/UPMC/Université ...

Fermi finds possible dark matter ties in Andromeda galaxy

February 21, 2017

NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope has found a signal at the center of the neighboring Andromeda galaxy that could indicate the presence of the mysterious stuff known as dark matter. The gamma-ray signal is similar to ...

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.