Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Begins Aerobraking The Planetary Society

The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) began the six-month aerobraking phase with rehearsals or drag passes last Friday and tomorrow night the spacecraft will dip down for its first “taste” of the Red Planet’s atmosphere.
“We’re putting the spacecraft through its paces,” said Peter Xaypraseuth, MRO flight engineer in an interview with The Planetary Society earlier today. “We’re telling it to do the exact things it would be doing for each upcoming aerobraking pass, except that we’re actually not going to be touching or sensing the atmosphere. It’s kind of a mock rehearsal.” In other words, everything is real, he said, “except the altitude.”

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