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SPACE : Venus Map Mission Suspended

October 26, 1990|From Times Wire Services

NASA decided to suspend the Magellan spacecraft's Venus map-making mission today, three days earlier than planned, because a planetary lineup is affecting its navigation and communications with Earth.

It will be at least 12 days before Magellan can resume its $744-million mission to use radar to make pictures and maps of cloud-covered Venus, said Jim Scott, mission director at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena.

Scott said problems with the spacecraft stem from an astronomical event called "superior conunction." That occurs next Thursday when Venus and Earth are at their maximum distance from each other--about 161 million miles--and the sun lies almost directly between the two planets.

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