Mars Global Surveyor reaches Mars 1997
Mars Global Surveyor was an American robotic spacecraft developed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and was launched from the Cape Canaveral Air Station in Florida November 1996 aboard a Delta II rocket. Mars Global Surveyor was a global mapping mission that examined the entire planet, from the ionosphere down through the atmosphere to the surface.
The spacecraft travelled nearly 750 million kilometres (466 million miles) over the course of a 300-day cruise to reach Mars on 11th September 1997.
Upon reaching Mars, Surveyor fired its main rocket engine for the 22-minute Mars orbit insertion (MOI) burn. This manoeuvre slowed the spacecraft and allowed the planet’s gravity to capture it into orbit.
It completed its primary mission in January 2001 and was in its third extended mission phase when, on 2 November 2006, the spacecraft failed to respond to messages and commands.
Extra Note: As part of the larger Mars Exploration Program, Mars Global Surveyor performed monitoring relay for sister orbiters during aero braking, and it helped Mars rovers and lander missions by identifying potential landing sites and relaying surface telemetry.
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