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17-Jan-01 | Mars Odyssey arrives at KSC

The Mars Odyssey spacecraft arrived at Kennedy Space Center’s Spacecraft Assembly and Encapsulation Facility 2 (SAEF-2) on Thursday, 4 January, following transport from Colorado aboard a C-17 Globemaster III operated by the 315th Airlift Wing, based at Charleston AFB, South Carolina.

Readers familiar with Delta history will recognise this aircraft’s name from the instrumental role that the Globemaster II played in Thor missile design, though today’s C-17 is considerably larger than the C-124 of the 1950’s. (JPL release, 05-Jan-01, USAF release, 8-Jan-01, USAF photo during loading at Buckley AFB, Colo.)

One of its main instruments, the Gamma Ray Spectrometer, was shipped from the University of Arizona Lunar and Planetary Laboratory to KSC last week. (UA LPL has contributed to a massive list of planetary missions, including NEAR and Mars Global Surveyor.) A streaming web cam showing spacecraft processing is now available at the project web site. Mars Odyssey is set for launch on Saturday morning, 7 April, the first day of a 12-day primary launch window. Two instantaneous launch opportunities are available on this day.


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