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Deep Space 1
DS1

Goals: Deep Space 1 was an engineering test flight for a dozen new technologies, including highly-efficient ion engines and autonomous navigation software. Asteroid 9969 Braille was a bonus science target.

Accomplishments: DS1's primary mission was a resounding success. All 12 technology tests were successful. The mission is credited with proving the effectiveness of ion engines for long-duration spaceflight and advancing the field of spacecraft navigation.

DS1 contributed to asteroid science by finding intriguing similarities between Braille and Vesta. It also returned valuable science data during its bonus flyby of comet Borrelly during an extended mission.


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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