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Emily LakdawallaAugust 4, 2007

Phoenix is now on its way to Mars!

The spacecraft is now spinning up to 70 revolutions per minute...

Third stage separated and ignited! Go go go...

Good quality data from Hawaii...

TECO! Third stage cutoff!

Everything nominal...

With that final third-stage burn, Phoenix is now on its Mars-bound trajectory.

Momentary loss of data...not sure if this was expected, but the guys in mission control look relaxed.

Still no data from the spacecraft for some reason. The spacecraft separation from the third stage should have happened now, but they don't have realtime data.

They said they are looking for "alternate means" to confirm separation.

At 3:56 PDT, no realtime data from either second or third stages.

Second stage data is returning.

Goldstone is getting data from Phoenix! And "Data quality looks very good." Vandenburg Air Force Base just couldn't get the data for some reason. Phew! That was a little scary for a few minutes.

The spacecraft is now reorienting toward the Sun, and everything appears to be going well. With things looking good, I think that I am going to sign off now and go to bed for a couple more hours.

Congratulations to the Phoenix team for a successful launch! The next lander is on its way to Mars!

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Emily Lakdawalla

Senior Editor and Planetary Evangelist for The Planetary Society
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