Throughout the recovery
phase, the Genesis team would closely evaluate the spacecraft's
re-entry trajectory. If at any point navigators and
mission planners felt the spacecraft and/or its sample
return capsule would not achieve required entry targeting
specifications, they can go to “plan B”
— a backup orbit. Navigators have designed a secondary
plan that would place the spacecraft and its capsule
in a six-month backup orbit around Earth. If required,
the maneuver to place the spacecraft and the sample
return capsule in this temporary orbit would take place
at entry minus 3.5 hours.
This backup orbit allows for a secondary entry opportunity
to take place at the same location over the Utah Test
& Training Range on March 17, 2005, at 2:40 p.m.