LOADING...
Text Size
Overview
March 8, 2011
 

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter uses a new spacecraft design provided by Lockheed Martin Space Systems that is smarter, more reliable, more agile, and more productive than any previous Mars orbiter. It is the first spacecraft designed from the ground up for aerobraking, a rigorous phase of the mission where the orbiter uses the friction of the martian atmosphere to slow down in order to settle into its final orbit around Mars.

This artist's concept of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter highlights the spacecraft's radar capability.Image right: This artist's concept of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter highlights the spacecraft's radar capability. Image credit: NASA/JPL.
+ Full image and caption


When fully assembled and fueled, the spacecraft cannot weigh more than 2,180 kilograms (4,806 pounds) or the Atlas V launch vehicle will not be able to lift it into the proper orbit. All subsystems and instruments on board (the so-called "dry mass") must weigh less than 1,031 kilograms (2,273 pounds) to allow room for 1,149 kilograms (2,533 pounds) of propellant for trajectory correction maneuvers that keep the spacecraft on target during the cruise to Mars and for burns that help capture the spacecraft into orbit around Mars.

Related information:
+ Launch vehicle summary
+ Spacecraft instruments
+ Communications with Earth
 

Image Token: 
[image-47]
Image Token: 
[image-62]
Page Last Updated: July 28th, 2013
Page Editor: NASA Administrator