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Mars Odyssey Switching Computers

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#1    Waspie_Dwarf

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 11:28 AM

Mars Longevity Champ Switching Computers



www.nasa.gov said:

Mars Odyssey Mission Status Report

 Artist concept of Mars Odyssey.<br />
Image credit: NASA/JPL<br />
<span style='color: #0000FF'><a href=' http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/odyssey/images/PIA04816-4x3.html' class='bbc_url' title='External link' rel='nofollow external'>  Full image and caption</span></a>
Artist concept of Mars Odyssey.
Image credit: NASA/JPL
Full image and caption
PASADENA, Calif. -- NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter, already the longest-working spacecraft ever sent to Mars, will switch to some fresh, redundant equipment next week that has not been used since before launch in 2001.

Like many spacecraft, this orbiter carries a pair of redundant main computers, so that a backup is available if one fails. Odyssey's "A-side" computer and "B-side" computer each have several other redundant subsystems linked to just that computer. The Odyssey team has decided to switch to the B-side computer to begin using the B-side's inertial measurement unit. This gyroscope-containing mechanism senses changes in the spacecraft's orientation, providing important information for control of pointing the antenna, solar arrays and instruments.

"We have been on the A side for more than 11 years. Everything on the A side still works, but the inertial measurement unit on that side has been showing signs of wearing out," said Odyssey Mission Manager Chris Potts at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. "We will swap to the B side on Nov. 5 so that we still have some life available in reserve on the A side."

In many potential problem situations, the Odyssey's autonomous fault-protection response would switch the spacecraft from the active side to the other side. By preserving the capability of switching back to a fully functional A side, the mission continues to have the available protection of switching sides temporarily and correcting any fixable anomaly on the B side.

"The spare inertial measurement unit is factory new, last operated on the day before launch," Potts said.

Odyssey launched April 7, 2001, began orbiting Mars on Oct. 24 of that year, began systematic science observations of Mars in early 2002, and broke the previous record for longest-working Mars spacecraft in December 2010.

The side swap on Nov. 5 will intentionally put Odyssey into a reduced-activity status called "safe mode." As the team and the spacecraft verify all systems can operate well over the following several days, the orbiter will return to full operations, conducting its own science observations, as well as serving as a communications relay for NASA's active Mars rovers Opportunity and Curiosity.

The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which shares the data relay return responsibility for the rovers at Mars, will carry the full burden of relay support for both rovers -- Opportunity and Curiosity -- during Odyssey's side-swap period. There will be a reduction in the total amount of relay data returned from Mars. The rover teams will reduce the amount of data planned for downlinking until Odyssey returns to full capacity after the side swap is complete, and will maintain near-normal tactical operations in the interim.

Odyssey's longevity enables continued science, including the monitoring of seasonal changes on Mars from year to year, and continued communication-relay service.

Odyssey is managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Denver built the spacecraft. JPL and Lockheed Martin collaborate on operating the spacecraft. For more about the Mars Odyssey mission, visit: http://mars.jpl.nasa...ov/odyssey.  

Guy Webster 818-354-6278
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
guy.webster@jpl.nasa.gov

2012-347



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#2    Merc14

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 05:33 PM

Definitely sound logic, just hope the B computer comes up OK after sitting dormant for 11 years.

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#3    pallidin

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 05:41 PM

Nice! Didn't know this. Those engineer's really have their heads together.


#4    Merc14

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 06:10 PM

View Postpallidin, on 05 November 2012 - 05:41 PM, said:

Nice! Didn't know this. Those engineer's really have their heads together.

COnsidering how notoriously difficult it is to even get a craft in orbit around Mars, much less land a rover on it, you have to be proud of NASA and the contractors that built Curiosity, Odyssey, and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Curioisty is an awesome accomplishment.

Believing when there is no compelling evidence is a mistake.  The idea is to withhold belief until there is compelling evidence and if the universe does not comply with our predispositions, okay, then we have the wrenching obligation to accommodate to the way the universe really is.  - Carl Sagan

"There is no difference between Communism and Socialism, except in the same ultimate end:  Communism proposes to enslave men by force, Socialism-by the vote.  It is merely the difference between murder and suicide."  - Ayn Rand




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