Mars Climate Orbiter Crash


The Mars Climate Orbiter was intended to carry out to carry out a two-year science mission, followed by acting as a relay station for five years.

The Mars Climate Orbiter was launched into space on December 11th, 1998. On September 23rd, 1999 the orbiter began to fire its main engine to go into orbit around Mars. All telemetry appeared normal, including the five minutes of burn before the orbiter passed behind Mars. Unfortunately, the orbiter never appeared again.

An incorrect transfer of information occurred between the Mars Climate Orbiter team and the mission navigation team. One team used Imperial measurements while the other used metric measurements, resulting in a failure to translate between units in ground-based navigation-related software.

Fix?

Inconsistent and informal communication between parties was seen as one of the root causes. Better documentation may have prevented the incident.

Download:

the report from National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).