Like Earthbound satellites are stationed in the polar orbit or Geosynchronous orbit. In which orbit related to Mars the Marsbound orbiters are stations?

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    $\begingroup$ This is a good question; they're all pretty different because each satellite has a different and specific job. $\endgroup$ – uhoh Mar 15 at 9:27

Many of the active artificial satellites currently orbiting Mars are in highly inclined orbits, as one would expect, since this increases the amount of the planet they can survey.

  • 2001 Mars Odyssey: 93 degree inclination
  • Mars Express: 86.3 degree inclination
  • Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter: 93 degree inclination
  • Mangalyaan: 150 degree inclination
  • MAVEN: 75 degree inclination
  • EXOMARS: 74 degree inclination
  • Emirates Mars Mission: 25 degree inclination planned
  • Tianwen 1: 10 degree inclination planned

Source: Wikipedia List of Mars Orbiters and the specific links from here to each spacecraft

Thanks to Star Man for the following sources on the last 2 orbiters:

  • eoportal page on EMM
  • eoportal page on Tianwen
  • $\begingroup$ The Emirates Mars Mission is designed for an inclination of about 25 degrees. And Tianwen 1 has an inclination of about 10 degrees. $\endgroup$ – Star Man Mar 15 at 16:40
  • $\begingroup$ Also, doesn't a 150 degree inclination cover the same amount of mars' surface as a 30 degree orbit (just different directions)? $\endgroup$ – Star Man Mar 15 at 16:42
  • $\begingroup$ @StarMan thanks for the links, I'll incorporate that info. $\endgroup$ – Organic Marble Mar 15 at 16:45
  • $\begingroup$ Time and effort spent making a list is laudable, but without size and eccentricity this doesn't give much of a picture of just how very different those orbits are in reality. $\endgroup$ – uhoh Mar 15 at 22:21
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    $\begingroup$ @uhoh I felt it met the asker's needs "polar or geo". YMMV, I try to answer what is asked. $\endgroup$ – Organic Marble Mar 15 at 23:08

Supplemental and possibly temporary answer.

The orbits are quite different, some very eccentric with very close approach, some always close, some always far away, one is even going "backwards"!

I'm not sure they all have helpful names, perhaps best to treat each one as unique?

     Spacecraft                 ecc      inc      semi     peri    apo    source
---------------------------    -----    -----    -----    -----   -----   ------      
Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter    0.012     92.8     3646     3602    6684      h
Mars Odyssey                   0.009     93.0     3826     3761    3826      h
Mars Express                   0.576     87.0     8819     3740   13898      h
Mars Orbiter Mission (a)       0.900    155.7    39752     3951   75552      h
Tianwen-1                      0.617     86.9     9524     3652   15396     1,2
Emirates Mars Mission          0.333     25.0    33000    22000   44000      3
Maven                          0.373     74.8     5676     3559    7794      h

h = JPL Horizons 3/14/2021 (Pi day) except for Mars Odyssey & Maven 1/14/2021
1 = https://space.stackexchange.com/q/50429/12102
2 = https://directory.eoportal.org/web/eoportal/satellite-missions/t/tianwen-1
3 = https://directory.eoportal.org/web/eoportal/satellite-missions/content/-/article/emm-hope
a = Mangalyaan
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    $\begingroup$ Great info, +1! $\endgroup$ – Organic Marble Mar 16 at 0:13
  • $\begingroup$ @OrganicMarble trying to make a static table for an ever-changing situation is probably a fool's errand and I will likely regret it :-) $\endgroup$ – uhoh Mar 16 at 0:21

Spacecraft heading for Mars will launch away from Earth orbit on a transfer obit that is effectively an orbit around the Sun that intersects the orbit of Mars.

On arrival at Mars the spacecraft will enter the upper reaches of the Martian atmosphere causing frictional breaking and will be slowed down into Martian orbit. The exact Marian orbit will depend upon the exact orientation and velocity of the craft at this point. A variety of different Martian orbits will be used depending on the mission.

For example Mars Odyssey went into a sun synchronous polar orbit to maximise the amount of the planets surface for mapping. Other orbits are possible for different objectives. For example landing on the Martian moons or a Martian synchronous orbit to act as a relay so that a lander or base can communicate with Earth with fewer interruptions.


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