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
September 16, 1994
NASA's Magellan spacecraft on September 14 successfully finished a unique seven-day "windmill" experiment to study basic oxygen gas-surface interaction by dipping the spacecraft into the upper rarified atmosphere of Venus. The spacecraft's winglike solar arrays were turned in opposite directions -- like windmill sails -- and the atmospheric forces on the spacecraft were measured.
The experiment allowed lift, drag and atomic oxygen gas- surface values to be measured for the first time in a controlled free-molecular gas flow experiment. Mission controllers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory said the measurements will help engineers understand the atmospheric forces on Earth-orbiting satellites and will aid in aerobraking designs for future planetary spacecraft missions.
The project team is now concentrating on continued Venus gravity mapping activities through October 9; and the final termination experiment is to be performed October 10 when the spacecraft will be lowered deeper into the atmosphere. The spacecraft is expected to burn up in the upper atmosphere of the planet by October 14.
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