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[jamsat-news:1156] * SpaceNews 04-Oct-99 *

* SpaceNews 04-Oct-99 *

BID: $SPC1004


		 	MONDAY OCTOBER 4, 1999

A failure to recognize and correct an error in a transfer of 
information between the Mars Climate Orbiter spacecraft team in 
Colorado and the mission navigation team in California led to the 
loss of the spacecraft two weeks ago according to preliminary
findings by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory internal peer review.

"People sometimes make errors," said Dr. Edward Weiler, NASA's
Associate Administrator for Space Science. "The problem here was
not the error, it was the failure of NASA's systems engineering,
and the checks and balances in our processes to detect the error.
That's why we lost the spacecraft."

The peer review preliminary findings indicate that one team used English
units (e.g., inches, feet and pounds) while the other used metric units
for a key spacecraft operation.  This information was critical to the
maneuvers required to place the spacecraft in the proper Mars orbit.  

"Our inability to recognize and correct  this simple error has had major
implications," said Dr. Edward Stone, director of the Jet Propulsion
Laboratory.  "We have underway a thorough investigation to understand
this issue."

Two separate review committees have already been formed to investigate
the loss of Mars Climate Orbiter: an internal JPL peer group and a special
review board of JPL and outside experts.  An independent NASA failure
review board will be formed shortly.

"Our clear short-term goal is to maximize the likelihood of a successful
landing of the Mars Polar Lander on December 3," said Weiler.  "The
lessons from these reviews will be applied across the board in the

Mars Climate Orbiter was one of a series of missions in a long-term program
of Mars exploration managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory for NASA's
Office of Space Science, Washington, DC.  JPL's industrial partner is
Lockheed Martin Astronautics, Denver, CO.  JPL is a division of the
California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA.

[Info via NASA]

The following is the latest FO-29 satellite operating schedule:

Tue 05-Oct-99 - Thu 07-Oct-99 : Mode JA
Fri 08-Oct-99 - Mon 18-Oct-99 : Digitalker
Tue 19-Oct-99 - Thu 21-Oct-99 : Mode JA
Tue 22-Oct-99 - Mon 08-Nov-99 : Digitalker
Tue 09-Nov-99 - Mon 15-Nov99  : Mode JA

[Info via Kazu Sakamoto (jj1wtk@jamsat.or.jp)]

Comments and input for SpaceNews should be directed to the editor
(John, KD2BD) via any of the paths listed below:
WWW       : http://www.njin.net/~magliaco/
INTERNET  : kd2bd@amsat.org, magliaco@email.njin.net

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