Archive-Name: gov/us/fed/nara/fed-register/1999/nov/29/64FR66668A Posting-number: Volume 64, Issue
228, Page 66668A

[Federal Register: November 29, 1999 (Volume 64, Number 228)]


[Page 66668-66669]

From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [] [DOCID:fr29no99-107]


[NOTICE 99-147]

National Environmental Policy Act; Mars Surveyor 2001 Mission

AGENCY: National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

ACTION: Notice of availability of draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) for implementation of the Mars Surveyor 2001 (MS 01) mission.


Pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), as amended (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.),
the Council on
Environmental Quality Regulations for Implementing the Procedural Provisions of NEPA (40 CFR Parts
1500-1508), and NASA policy and procedures (14 CFR Part 1216 Subpart 1216.3), NASA has prepared and issued
a DEIS for the MS 01 mission. The DEIS addresses the potential environmental impacts associated with continuing the
preparations for and implementing the MS 01 mission. The purpose of this proposal is to continue global
reconnaissance of Mars and perform surface exploration. The mission is planned to consist of two components. NASA
proposes to launch an orbiter spacecraft from Vandenberg Air Force Base (VAFB), California in March-April 2001,
and a lander/rover spacecraft from Cape Canaveral Air Station (CCAS), Florida in April 2001. The orbiter would be
launched aboard a Delta II 7925, while the lander/rover would be launched aboard a Delta II 7425. The lander/rover
would include four small radioactive sources for instrument calibration and would use three radioisotope heater units
(RHU’s) for thermal control. The orbiter would carry no radioactive material.


Interested parties are invited to submit comments or
environmental concerns on or before January 13, 2000, or 45 days from the date of publication in the Federal
Register of the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency’s notice of availability of the MS 01 mission DEIS, whichever is later.


Comments should be addressed to Mr. Mark R. Dahl, NASA Headquarters, Code SD, Washington, DC 20546-0001. While hard copy comments are preferred, comments by electronic mail may be sent to The DEIS may be
reviewed at the following locations:

(a) NASA Headquarters, Library, Room 1J20, 300 E Street, SW., Washington, DC 20546.

(b) Spaceport U.S.A., Room 2001, John F. Kennedy Space Center, FL 32899. Please call Lisa Fowler beforehand at
407-867-2497 so that arrangements can be made.

(c) Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Visitors Lobby, Building 249, 4800 Oak Grove Drive, Pasadena, CA 91109
In addition, the DEIS may be examined at the following NASA locations by contacting the pertinent Freedom of
Information Act Office:

(d) NASA, Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA 94035 (650-604- 4191).

(e) NASA, Dryden Flight Research Center, P.O. Box 273, Edwards, CA 93523 (661-258-3449).

(f) NASA, Glenn Research Center at Lewis Field, 21000 Brookpark Road, Cleveland, OH 44135

(g) NASA, Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt Road, Greenbelt, MD 20771 (301-286-0730).

(h) NASA, Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX 77058 (281-483-8612).
(i) NASA, Langley Research Center,
Hampton, VA 23681 (757-864- 2497).

(j) NASA, Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, AL 35812 (256- 544-2030).

(k) NASA, Stennis Space Center, MS 39529 (228-688-2164).

Limited hard copies of the DEIS are available, on a first request basis, by contacting Mark Dahl at the address or
telephone number indicated herein.


Mark R. Dahl, 202-358-1544; electronic mail (
The DEIS also is available in
Acrobat format at or


MS 01 mission is part of a series of missions to characterize Mars’ atmosphere,
geologic history, climate, and the relationship to Earth’s climate change process. These missions aim to determine
what resources Mars provides for future exploration, and to search for evidence of past and present life. The MS 01
mission would specifically continue the global reconnaissance of Mars via an orbiter spacecraft, and continue the
intense study of local areas of the surface via a lander/rover spacecraft.

The proposed action consists of continuing preparations for and implementing the MS 01 mission. The MS 01
orbiter would be launched on a Delta II 7925 from VAFB in March-April 2001. The MS 01 lander carrying the rover
would be launched on a Delta II 7425 from CCAS in April 2001. Alternatives that were evaluated included an
Orbiter-and- Lander-Only mission, an Orbiter-Only mission, and the No-Action alternative.

For the MS 01 mission, the potentially affected environment for normal launches includes the areas at and in the
vicinity of the two launch sites, CCAS in Florida and VAFB in California. The environmental impacts of normal
launches of the two spacecraft for the proposed action would be associated principally with the exhaust emissions
from each of the Delta II launch vehicles. These effects would include short-term impacts on air quality within the
exhaust cloud and near the launch pads, and the potential for acidic deposition on the vegetation and surface water
bodies at and near each launch complex, particularly if a rain storm occurred. The potential exists for disturbance of
some protected wildlife species, which has been addressed by the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
pursuant to consultations under Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act, and incidental take permits and mitigation
plans are in place.

A concern associated with launch of the MS 01 lander/rover
spacecraft involves potential launch accidents that could result in the release of some of the radioactive material on
board the lander/rover spacecraft. The lander would employ two instruments which use small quantities of cobalt-57
(1.30 x 10 10 Becquerels or 350 millicuries) and curium-242 (up to 7.40 x 10 5 Becquerels or 20
microcuries) as instrument sources. The rover would have three RHU’s that use plutonium dioxide to provide heat to
the electronics and batteries on board the rover. The radioisotope inventory of the three RHU’s would total
approximately 3.69 x 10 12 Becquerels (99.6 curies) of plutonium. The rover would also carry curium-244 (up
to 3.70 x 10 9 Becquerels or 100 millicuries)) on its spectrometer and a small americium-241 source (up to
1.11 x 10 6 Becquerels or 30 microcuries) on a dust experiment package.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), in cooperation with NASA, has performed a risk assessment of potential
accidents for the MS 01 lander/rover. This assessment used a methodology refined through applications to the Galileo,
Cassini, and Mars Pathfinder missions and incorporates safety tests on the RHU’s, as well as evaluation of the January
17, 1997, Delta II accident at CCAS. DOE’s risk assessment for this mission indicates that in the event of a launch
accident the expected impacts of released radioactive material at and in the vicinity of the launch area, and on a global
basis, would be small. Jeffrey E. Sutton,
Associate Administrator for Management Systems.

[FR Doc. 99-30864 Filed 11-26-99; 8:45 am]