Mro imaging of Phoenix descent

P. G. Good, M. A. Johnson, D. F. Eckart, W. Sidney, R. M. Manning, D. E. Highsmith, A. McEwen, S. Mattson, E. Eliason

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

2 Scopus citations


On May 25, 2008, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) used its HiRISE camera to capture a dramatic image of the Phoenix Mars Lander descending on its parachute towards the surface of Mars. This was the first time that a spacecraft has imaged the final descent of another spacecraft onto a planetary body. Capturing the image required months of planning and testing across many disciplines of the MRO operations team. This paper presents the navigational changes to the MRO orbit to support the Phoenix entry geometry, the GN&C maneuvers necessary to track Phoenix during its entry and descent, the statistical analysis to determine the likelihood of capturing the image, and the HiRISE imaging preparation and post processing to bring out the details of the Lander, parachute and back-shell.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationGuidance and Control 2009 - Advances in the Astronautical Sciences
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the 32nd Annual AAS Rocky Mountain Guidance and Control Conference
Number of pages20
StatePublished - 2009
Event32nd Annual AAS Rocky Mountain Guidance and Control Conference - Breckenridge, CO, United States
Duration: Jan 30 2009Feb 4 2009

Publication series

NameAdvances in the Astronautical Sciences
ISSN (Print)0065-3438


Other32nd Annual AAS Rocky Mountain Guidance and Control Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityBreckenridge, CO

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Space and Planetary Science


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