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Emily LakdawallaMay 25, 2008

Getting close to the critical time...

I'm watching Earth-received-time version of Daniel Muller's realtime landing simulation, and we're getting close to the start of the critical landing events. About 20 minutes remain until "Propulsion System Pressurization" -- that's when they'll use helium to pressurize the thrusters, priming them for their later use. They'll hit the entry interface, meaning the perceptible top of the Martian atmosphere, another fifteen minutes after that.

As things start heating up, I probably won't want to generate a bazillion new posts, so I may be updating these posts -- just refresh the blog from time to time. Once a post gets too long I'll start a new one.

Here we go...

I'm hearing stuff like "Step 2, 9 dash 0, 4, 7 has completed." This doesn't tell me much, but at least it sounds nominal.

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter is "go for EDL comm support."

Odyssey is "go for EDL comm support."

So both NASA orbiters are ready and waiting to record or relay Phoenix' signal.

DTE software radio is "go for EDL comm support." I don't quite know what that means, but DTE typically means "direct-to-Earth." I believe the only DTE comm is the carrier signal being picked up at Green Bank in West Virginia.

"Odyssey Doppler display" something is running....sorry I can't catch everything, it's still a bit noisy in here. I need to buy me some of those noise-canceling headphones.

The comm officer reminded everyone that this would be a good time to change their batteries!

I think I will start a new post now, as the timeline is about to start with propulsion system pressurization.

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Emily Lakdawalla

Senior Editor and Planetary Evangelist for The Planetary Society
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