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Team Blog

MAVEN team at Goddard Space Flight Center for Critical Design Review

The MAVEN team at the Critical Design Review in July 2011. Several hundred additional scientists, engineers, and support personnel are contributing to the success of MAVEN, but were not present at the review. (Courtesy MAVEN)


The MAVEN team includes experts from many institutions and disciplines. The team blog is a forum for these individuals to share their personal experiences with the MAVEN community. From exploring the science of the mission, to the engineering behind the instrumentation, from the complex aspects of project management, to the access and use of data products, we hope you enjoy the opportunity to engage with the MAVEN team through these anecdotes.

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2014

MAVEN Status Update: Oct. 15, 2014

October 15

David F. Mitchell, MAVEN Project Manager at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

Commissioning activities have gone extremely well over the few weeks since MAVEN entered Mars orbit on September 21. Since then, we have successfully completed four engine burns to lower MAVEN’s orbit. MAVEN now orbits Mars every 4.6 hours with a periapsis (closest distance from the Mars surface) of 175 kilometers. All instruments are activated, and we are seeing data that represents exciting first science from the Mars upper atmosphere. On Oct. 14, 2014, the science team held a conference call with the media to discuss early results.

Over the past week we successfully completed five deployments of MAVEN instrument systems needed for six of the eight MAVEN instruments. The majority of the instruments had been stowed since prior to the November 2013 launch. With MAVEN now in Mars orbit, it was safe to fire the pyros that released appendages integral to various instruments and one protective sealing cap on the Neutral Gas and Ion Mass Spectrometer (NGIMS). The spacecraft and all payloads are now configured for the science phase that we have been planning for over the past decade.

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MAVEN Status Update: Oct. 10, 2014

October 10

David F. Mitchell, MAVEN Project Manager at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

Since Mars Orbit Insertion (MOI) on September 21st, things have gone extremely well with the MAVEN spacecraft and the instruments that have been activated thus far.

There have been a total of four separate engine burns since MOI that have brought MAVEN’s orbital period down to approximately 4.6 hours and a periapsis (closest distance from the Mars surface) of 175 km (~109 mi). Several of the instruments have been activated and we are now seeing data sets from the instruments that we believe will provide great science results on Mars’ upper atmosphere.

Additionally, the two Langmuir Probe & Waves antennas were successfully deployed on October 9th. The remaining instrument deployments will occur over the next several days.

To watch an animation of the LPW deployment, visit: MAVEN LPW deployment.

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MAVEN Status Update: Sept. 30, 2014

September 30

David F. Mitchell, MAVEN Project Manager at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

Everything is going well on the mission as MAVEN orbits Mars! All systems are performing nominally. Following Mars Orbit Insertion on Sept. 21 the spacecraft successfully completed two engine burns which brings MAVEN closer to its planned science orbit. We have lowered MAVEN from the 35 hour capture orbit into its current 5.5 hour orbit period. In the weeks to come we’ll perform additional engine burns to get MAVEN into a 4.5 hour orbit period and the required atmospheric density corridor.

We are also preparing for five separate instrument deployments in the month of October. If all of these execute per plan, we will be targeting a “bonus science” opportunity with the approaching Comet Siding Spring, the comet that will miss Mars by about 135,000 kilometers on Oct. 19. MAVEN will have a front row seat for this “once in many lifetimes” opportunity.

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MAVEN Status Update: Sept. 22, 2014

September 23

David F. Mitchell, MAVEN Project Manager at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

Right on schedule last night at 9:50 p.m. EDT, the MAVEN spacecraft fired its main engines for 33 minutes and 26 seconds in order to slow down the spacecraft enough to capture into Mars orbit. Following that event at about 10:30 p.m. EDT, David Folta, the Goddard Mission Design/Navigation lead—stationed at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory—made the call that we were all waiting for, “Based on observed navigation data, congratulations, MAVEN is now in Mars orbit!”

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MAVEN Status Update: Sept. 21, 2014

September 21

David F. Mitchell, MAVEN Project Manager at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

Everything is set for MAVEN’s arrival at Mars tonight. All spacecraft systems are operating nominally. MAVEN is right on track without the need for any further trajectory correction maneuvers.

Tonight MAVEN will slew (turn) to point the main engines in the direction of travel and fire for about 33 minutes in order to slow down the spacecraft enough to “capture” into Mars orbit. Although we have direct line of sight of MAVEN during the entire burn sequence, the observed data back on Earth will actually be viewed 12.5 minutes after the events occur because of the distance between Earth and Mars.

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MAVEN Status Update: Sept. 15, 2014

September 15
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MAVEN Status Update: August 29, 2014

August 30
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MAVEN Status Update: July 31, 2014

July 31
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MAVEN Particles and Fields: Exploring the Solar Wind Beyond 1 A.U.

July 2
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MAVEN Status Update: June 27, 2014

June 27
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MAVEN IUVS Gets First View of Mars

June 10
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MAVEN Status Update: May 1, 2014

May 1
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MAVEN Status Update: Mar. 27, 2014

March 27
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MAVEN Status Update: Feb. 27, 2014

February 27
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MAVEN Status Update: Feb. 26, 2014

February 26
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MAVEN Status Update: January 24, 2014

January 24
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MAVEN Status Update: January 9, 2014

January 9
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2013

MAVEN Status Update: Dec. 23, 2013

December 23, 2013
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MAVEN Status Update: Dec. 5, 2013

December 5, 2013
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MAVEN Status Update: Dec. 4, 2013

December 4, 2013
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MAVEN Status Update: Dec. 3, 2013

December 4, 2013
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MAVEN Status Update: Nov. 25, 2013

December 3, 2013
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MAVEN spacecraft successfully launches to Mars

November 18, 2013
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Atlas V/Centaur Fully Fueled

November 18, 2013
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MAVEN Countdown Underway

November 18, 2013
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Weather forecast for MAVEN launch remains 60 percent “Go”

November 17, 2013
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MAVEN Arrives at Pad for Launch

November 16, 2013
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MAVEN’s weekend plans

November 16, 2013
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MAVEN ‘Go’ to Proceed Toward Monday Launch

November 15, 2013
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MAVEN Powered On Ahead of Launch

November 14, 2013
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Weather Forecast: 60 Percent ‘Go’

November 14, 2013
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MAVEN mated to Atlas V in Vertical Integration Facility (VIF)

November 9, 2013
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MAVEN reactivation status update

October 3, 2013
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Environmental Testing

June 20, 2013
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A conversation about Education and Public Outreach

March 11, 2013
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2012

Did Solar Storms Blow Away the Atmosphere of Mars?

December 27, 2012
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Preparing for Science Data

October 25, 2012
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The MAVEN Science Data Center

August 27, 2012
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The life of a MAVEN instrument lead

June 26, 2012
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2011

MAVEN is a Team Effort

August 26, 2011
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Where is MAVEN in The Development Process?

August 11, 2011
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Viking Lander 35th Anniversary

July 26, 2011
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What goes around comes around

June 7, 2011
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Critical Design Review “Season”

May 13, 2011
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Fewer Than One Thousand Days Until MAVEN Launches

February 25, 2011
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Even Single Events Can Be Very Upsetting

January 7, 2011
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2010

MAVEN will launch on an Atlas V launch vehicle

December 15, 2010
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Solving problems as they come up on MAVEN

December 3, 2010
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MAVEN gets the green light to go to the red planet

October 13, 2010
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MAVEN and the Mars Science Laboratory

September 13, 2010
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2016 Trace Gas Orbiter Mission

August 16, 2010
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MAVEN Passes Preliminary Design Review

July 28, 2010
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MAVEN Preliminary Design Review

July 7, 2010
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Being the MAVEN Principal Investigator

June 8, 2010
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