PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICE JET PROPULSION LABORATORY CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION PASADENA, CALIF. 91109. TELEPHONE (818) 354-5011
MAGELLAN STATUS REPORT
July 1, 1994
The Magellan mission at Venus, in its sixth 243-day cycle, continues gravity mapping of the planet. The spacecraft is healthy, and controllers are putting it behind the antenna every other orbit to shade it and maintain thermal control.
On July 5, controllers will recondition the batteries, a routine process that requires commands for the spacecraft to discharge each of the two batteries and then recharge them. On July 15, Magellan will perform a radio occultation experiment, sending signals through Venus' atmosphere to Earth.
Magellan has been collecting high-resolution gravity data from near-circular orbit since early August 1993. Its fifth orbital cycle ended April 17, 1994 at which time about 70 percent of Venus was covered. It is predicted that 95 percent of gravity coverage will have been acquired when the mission ends this fall.
The mission is to end in October when the spacecraft will be sent into the atmosphere. The project will use the spacecraft capability to get the greatest science return with a "windmill experiment" to study the dynamic forces on the spacecraft. Controllers will collect data as the atmosphere exerts pressure on the solar panels, turning the spacecraft on its axis. Since the spacecraft is not designed to operate unattended for more than a few weeks, it will be sent into the atmosphere and dragged down where it will burn up in its descent.
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