PI Update - August 2003
The instrument platform has been fully integrated with the flyby spacecraft and the full electrical functionality has been verified.
This means that we are now focused on completing the spacecraft for handover to the project's flight system test team, an event that is
expected later this month. Further testing of the instruments will occur as part of the testing of the entire flight system.
A major achievement was to carry out a complete, end-to-end test of the file transfer protocol, an internet-like protocol which will
be flown for the first time by Deep Impact. Previous missions have communicated with the ground using "packets" of data, typically all
of a fixed size, with a "data file", such as an image, being built up from many separate packets as they are received at the ground station
and sometimes involving sorting out data to several different files from a single packet. Our test involved sending a complete file from
the ground support equipment at JPL, through a secure communications line to the spacecraft at BATC, processing through the
spacecraft computer, and sending the file back to JPL. Although this test could not involve the Deep Space Network, since the spacecraft
is still on the ground, it gives us great confidence that this new telemetry mode will work well for us. It also gives us optimism about
running our test program "remotely", i.e. as we will fly the mission, with the tests being conducted from JPL in California while the
spacecraft is at BATC in Colorado.
Mike A'Hearn, University of Maryland
Mission Update Archive