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Solar System Exploration
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Deep Space 1
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DS1
Deep Space 1 Mission to Asteroids Deep Space 1 Mission to Comets

Goals: Deep Space 1 was an engineering test flight for a dozen new technologies, including highly-efficient ion engines and autonomous navigation software. After its successful primary mission, scientists sent teh spacecraft to get a close look - the closest at the time - at a comet's nucleus and structure.

Accomplishments: Despite the failure of a system that helped the spacecraft determine its orientation, the flyby was a success. Deep Space 1 - dubbed 'the little spacecraft that could' - sent back excellent images and science data from a comet. Information from the flyby was used to plan several later comet missions.

   

Key Dates
24 Oct 1998:  Launch
Status: Successful
Fast Facts
DS1 Facts On its way to comet Borrelly, Deep Space 1 set a record at the time for the longest operating time on a spacecraft engine. (An ion engine similar to DS1's is shown at right.)

Deep Space 1 was dubbed "the little spacecraft that could" after completing a comet encounter without the use of a star tracker.

Because of Deep Space 1's technology testing, many future missions that would have been unaffordable or even impossible now are feasible.
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Last Updated: 20 Jun 2012