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23-Jan-99 | Delta flight 265 – Mars Polar Lander / Deep Space 2

Mars Polar Lander and Deep Space 2 successfully launched aboard a Delta 7425 launch vehicle from Cape Canaveral on 3 January, 1999. They are on course for arrival at Mars in less than 0 days.

MPL will soft-land at the Martian south pole to study climate history and composition of the polar ice cap. DS-2 consists of two micro-probes which will impact Mars and penetrate to a depth of up to one metre in order to analyse sub-surface soil. The Delta 7425 was extremely accurate, such that MPL’s first TCM burn on 21 January changed its velocity by about 16 m/s, mostly in order to remove a launch bias used to prevent the Star 48 third stage from impacting Mars.

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