Concerns are receding that the Mars Curiosity Rover (Mars Science Laboratory) will be out of communication with Earth during its risky “seven minutes of terror” skycrane landing sequence on 6 August. This was after the orbiting spacecraft Mars Odyssey Orbiter managed to relocate itself in its orbit ready for its deta relay function. A thruster firing on 24 July achieved this move.
Concerns had been previously raised after NASA’s Mars Odyssey Orbiter had a reaction wheel failure on 11 July which caused the spacecraft to fall into a temporary safe mode. Mars Odyessey Orbiter is needed as a data relay spacecraft as Earth will be out of direct communication visibility during the landing sequence.