Mars Odyssey Completes Aerobraking SpaceDaily

Flight controllers for NASA’s Mars Odyssey spacecraft sent commands overnight to raise the spacecraft up out of the atmosphere and conclude the aerobraking phase of the mission. At 12:18 a.m. Pacific time Jan. 11, Odyssey fired its small thrusters for 244 seconds, changing its speed by 20 meters per second (45 miles per hour) and raising its orbit by 85 kilometers (53 miles). The closest point in Odyssey’s orbit, called the periapsis, is now 201 kilometers (125 miles) above the surface of Mars. The farthest point in the orbit, called the apoapsis, is at an altitude of 500 kilometers (311 miles). During the next few weeks, flight controllers will refine the orbit until the spacecraft reaches its final mapping altitude, a 400-kilometer (249-mile) circular orbit.