Venus mapping delayed by Magellan problem



The start of full-scale radar mapping of Venus by NASA's Magellan spacecraft has been delayed until at least September 15 while a task force of mission personnel investigates the cause of two communication losses with the spacecraft during its first week in orbit.

The task force, headed by Frank McKinney of the Martin-Marietta spacecraft operations division, convened August 28 at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., to review possible causes of the signal losses experienced by Magellan. “The investigation group is looking at all possible causes, including both software and hardware,” said JPL spokesman Jim Doyle.