National Aeronautics and Space Administration Logo
Follow this link to skip to the main content NASA Banner
Solar System Exploration
Return to Solar System Exploration
Facebook Twitter YouTube Facebook Twitter YouTube Flickr iTunes
Follow Us
Flight System
Launch Vehicle  |  Flight System  |  Flyby Spacecraft  |  Impactor 
Instruments  |  Targeting  |  Navigation  |  Deep Space Network 

Technology - Flight System - The Plan

Deep Impact Flight System
The Flight System is about 3.3m long, 1.7m wide, and 2.3m high.

The flight system consists of two spacecraft: the flyby spacecraft and the impactor. Each spacecraft has its own instruments and capabilities to receive and transmit data.

The flyby spacecraft carries the primary imaging instruments (the HRI and MRI) and the impactor (with an ITS) to the vicinity of the comet nucleus. It releases the impactor, receives impactor data, supports the instruments as they image the impact and resulting crater, and then transmits the science data back to Earth.

The impactor guides itself to hit the comet nucleus on the sunlit side. The energy from the impact will excavate a crater approximately 100m wide and 28m deep.

The instruments help guide both spacecrafts and then acquire the science data that will be analyzed by the science team.

Deep Impact Flight System

Main Goals of the Flight System:

  • Hit nucleus of Tempel 1 with sufficient kinetic energy to form a crater with a depth > 20m
  • Observe nucleus for > 10 minutes following impact
  • Image nucleus impact, crater development and inside of crater
  • Obtain spectrometry of nucleus and inside of crater
  • Acquire, store, format, and downlink imagery and spectrometry data

Deep Impact Flight System

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: 28 Jun 2010