National Aeronautics and Space Administration Logo
Follow this link to skip to the main content NASA Banner
Solar System Exploration
News & Events
Deep Impact Launch Postponed
Deep Impact Launch Postponed
1 Apr 2003
(Source: Jet Propulsion Laboratory)

New Launch Date for Deep Impact
Deep Impact Project
April 1, 2003

A new launch window is announced for the Deep Impact project, the first mission to look deep inside a comet. Technical and management issues, including contamination in the propulsion system and late deliveries of key spacecraft components, resulted in delays in the pre-flight testing schedule. These concerns led Deep Impact Principal Investigator, Mike A'Hearn, to recommend to NASA a delay of launch. A launch window beginning December 30, 2004, previously identified as a back-up date, provides more thorough testing for the spacecraft systems before launch and allows the spacecraft to arrive at Comet Tempel 1 to impact it as originally scheduled on July, 4, 2005. NASA management approved the recommendation.

Old Trajectory Diagram:

New Trajectory Diagram:

Deep Impact will be the first mission to make a spectacular, football-stadium-sized crater, seven to 15 stories deep, into the speeding comet. Dramatic images from both the flyby spacecraft and the impactor will be sent back to distant Earth as data in near-realtime. These first-ever views deep beneath a comet's surface, and additional scientific measurements will provide clues to the formation of the solar system. Amateur astronomers will combine efforts with astronomers at larger telescopes to offer the public an earth-based look at this incredible July 2005 encounter with a comet.

News Archive Search  Go!
Show  results per page
Awards and Recognition   Solar System Exploration Roadmap   Contact Us   Site Map   Print This Page
NASA Official: Kristen Erickson
Advisory: Dr. James Green, Director of Planetary Science
Outreach Manager: Alice Wessen
Curator/Editor: Phil Davis
Science Writers: Courtney O'Connor and Bill Dunford
Producer: Greg Baerg
Webmaster: David Martin
> NASA Science Mission Directorate
> Budgets, Strategic Plans and Accountability Reports
> Equal Employment Opportunity Data
   Posted Pursuant to the No Fear Act
> Information-Dissemination Policies and Inventories
> Freedom of Information Act
> Privacy Policy & Important Notices
> Inspector General Hotline
> Office of the Inspector General
> NASA Communications Policy
> NASA Advisory Council
> Open Government at NASA
Last Updated: 9 Apr 2003