NASA Logo, National Aeronautics and Space Administration
NASA Space Science Data Coordinated Archive Header

Engineering Experiments

NSSDCA ID: 2005-029A-09

Mission Name: Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter


Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter will carry three instruments designated as engineering experiments. These instruments, designed to assist in spacecraft navigation and communications, will be operated and assessed for use on future missions.

Electra UHF Communications and Navigation Package

Electra allows the spacecraft to act as a communications relay between the Earth and landed crafts on Mars that may not have sufficient radio power to communicate directly with Earth by themselves.

Optical Navigation Camera

This camera is being tested for improved navigation capability for future missions. If it performs well, similar cameras placed on orbiters of the future would be able to serve as high-precision interplanetary "eyes" to guide incoming spacecraft as they near Mars.

Ka-band Telecommunications Experiment Package

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter will test the use of a radio frequency called Ka-band to demonstrate the potential for greater performance in communications using significantly less power.

Alternate Names

  • MarsReconnaissanceOrbiter/EngineeringExperiments

Funding Agency

  • NASA-Office of Space Science Applications (United States)


  • Engineering: None assigned

Additional Information

Questions and comments about this experiment can be directed to: Dr. David R. Williams



NameRoleOriginal AffiliationE-mail

Selected References

  • Shambayati, S., et al., Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Ka-Band (32 GHz) Demonstration: Cruise Phase Operations, No. 5786, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautic SpaceOps 2006 Conference, Rome, Italy, doi:10.2514/6.2006-5786, Jun. 2006.
  • Shambayati, S., et al., Link Design and Planning for Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) Ka-band (32 GHz) Telecom Demonstration, IEEE Aerospace Conference, pp. 1559-1569, Big Sky, MT, doi:10.1109/AERO.2005.1559447, Mar. 2005.
  • Taylor, J., et al., Chapter 6: Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, in Deep Space Communications, J. Taylor Ed., Vol. 13, pp. 201-262, Deep Space Communications and Navigation Series, JPL, Calif. Inst. Technol., Deep Sp. Comm. and Nav. Sys. (DESCANSO), Pasadena, CA, Oct. 2014.
[] NASA Logo -