The Arrival of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter

On August 12, 2005, NASA launched the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) on a 7 month trek to the red planet. In March, 2006, it arrives.

The simulation MROarrival.gsim recreates the final few hours of the MRO's interplanetary flight. On March 10, 2006, the MRO approaches Mars on a hyperbolic trajectory. Just before closest appraoch to Mars, it fires its engines in a regtograde direction. This Mars orbit insertion burn (MOI) allows the gravity of Mars to capture the spacecraft into a polar martian orbit.

Watch as the MRO brakes into orbit, while a companion fictional object continues on the hyperbolic trajectory. Mars' moons, Phobos and Deimos are included in this simulation.

The starting conditions were obtained by JPL's Horizons Ephemeris Computation Service.

Download MROarrival.gsim . (You need to have the program Gravity Simulator installed on your computer first. Click Here to download Gravity Simulator.)