Mars Odyssey spacecraft, designed
and built by Lockheed Martin Space Systems – Astronautics Operations for the
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and Jet Propulsion
Laboratory (JPL), was launched successfully today and is on its way to the
planet Mars.
Liftoff occurred at 11:02 a.m. EDT aboard a Delta II launch
vehicle from Launch Complex 17A at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.

The 2001 Mars Odyssey is NASA’s next mission to Mars and will join the
Mars Global Surveyor, also designed and built by Lockheed Martin, in an effort
to continue scientific reconnaissance of the planet’s surface and explore for
signs of water.
In addition to designing and building the Odyssey, Lockheed
Martin is controlling the Mars Global Surveyor, the 2001 Mars Odyssey and the
Stardust spacecraft, in cooperation with JPL, from its facilities southwest of

“We now have a second spacecraft on its way to Mars that will continue to
support NASA’s important, long-term vision to explore and understand the Red
Planet — with science instruments that will greatly expand our understanding
of our neighbor planet,” said G. Thomas Marsh, president and general manager
of Lockheed Martin Space Systems – Astronautics Operations.
“We are extremely
proud to be an industry partner with NASA and JPL to further the goals of
space exploration and gain a better understanding of our solar system and the

The 2001 Mars Odyssey will reach the Red Planet October 24, 2001, enter an
initial elliptical orbit, then perform aerobraking maneuvers for several weeks
to place the spacecraft in a lower circular orbit around the planet’s poles.
Aerobraking uses atmospheric drag to slow the spacecraft into its final orbit,
thereby minimizing the weight and fuel required to reach the lower Mars orbit.
Once it achieves this orbit, the spacecraft will use its thrusters to settle
into a polar, nearly circular orbit averaging 250 miles above the surface.
The duration of the 2001 Mars Odyssey’s mission is two Martian years (46 Earth

While in orbit, the spacecraft will collect data that will be used to
analyze the global elemental composition of the planet, search for evidence of
ancient hot springs and mineral deposits, survey the radiation environment and
provide a communications link with future landers.

Scientists want to understand what happened to what appears to have been
signs of surface water on the planet and other geological formations similar
to those on Earth.
To gather data and send it to Earth for scientific
interpretation, the Odyssey will make use of three science instruments:
Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS); the Gamma Ray Spectrometer (GRS);
and the Martian Radiation Environment Experiment (MARIE).
THEMIS will map the
mineralogy and morphology of the Martian surface using a visible wavelength
camera and thermal infrared imaging spectrometer.
The GRS will achieve global
mapping of the elemental composition of the surface and determine the
abundance of hydrogen atoms — most likely contained in water ice — in the
shallow subsurface of Mars.
The MARIE will characterize aspects of the near-
Mars Deep Space radiation environment as related to the radiation-related risk
to human explorers who may visit Mars in the future.

Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, headquartered in Denver, Colo., is
one of the major operating units of Lockheed Martin Corporation.
Systems designs, develops, tests, manufactures and operates a variety of
advanced technology systems for military, civil and commercial customers.
Chief products include a full range of space launch systems, ground systems,
remote sensing and communications satellites for commercial and government
customers, advanced space observatories and interplanetary spacecraft, fleet
ballistic missiles and missile defense systems.

Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global enterprise
principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture and
integration of advanced-technology systems, products and services.
Corporation’s core businesses are systems integration, space, aeronautics and
technology services.
Employing more than 140,000 people worldwide, Lockheed
Martin had 2000 sales surpassing $25 billion.

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