| || Space News for October 19, 2001|
NASA Makes Final Preparations for Odyssey's Arrival
After 200 days of travel, NASA's Mars Odyssey spacecraft has nearly reached the Red Planet. On October 23rd, the spacecraft will fire its main engine for the first time for 19.7 minutes. This engine burn will put it into an elliptical orbit around Mars, lightly brushing against the planet's atmosphere to slow it down even further. Over the coming weeks and months, it will continue to brush across the atmosphere until its elliptical orbit becomes circular at an altitude of only 400km.
New Commercial Earth Imaging satellite Launched
QuickBird, a new satellite designed to capture high-resolution images of our planet, successfully launched Thursday on board a Boeing Delta rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. Images taken by this new commercial satellite will have a resolution of 60 centimetres - capable of distinguishing between a sedan and a pickup, but not able to spot people. QuickBird will spend the next few months in calibration and testing, and then its images will be made commercially available.
First European Woman Prepares for Station Visit
The European Space Agency's Claudie Haignere will become the first European woman to visit the International Space Station when she and her cosmonaut crewmates lift off from Baikonur on board a Russian Soyuz on Sunday, October 21. The Soyuz will dock with the station 48 hours after liftoff, attaching at the port that was recently cleared by the current crew of ISS. They will stay on board the station for eight days performing science experiments and then return in the other Soyuz.
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