Deep Space 1 Spacecraft at 2.3 Million Miles
Deep Space 1 spacecraft at a distance of 2.3 million miles (3.7 million kilometers) from Earth.
Using the 5-meter (200-inch) Hale telescope on Palomar Mountain, Jet Propulsion Laboratory astronomers captured this image of the Deep Space 1 spacecraft at a distance of 2.3 million miles (3.7 million kilometers) from Earth. Tracing a path against the constellation Gemini.
The spacecraft was receding from Earth at a speed of 1.1 miles (1.7 kilometers) per second relative to Earth. The spacecraft, just 1.5 meters (4.9 feet) high, was 4 million times dimmer than the faintest star visible to the unaided eye.
his image was obtained on Nov. 16, 1998, 23 days after the spacecraft's launch from Cape Canaveral, FL. Top of the image is north. Each side of this square image is five arc-minutes, or approximately 0.08 of one degree.
Observers were Bonnie J. Buratti, Paul R. Weissman, Michael D. Hicks and Alain Doressoundiram. Jon Giorgini assisted with telescope-pointing predictions using JPL's Horizons online ephemeris system. These predictions were based on orbit determination performed by the Deep Space 1 navigation team.
Deep Space 1 was the first mission under NASA's New Millennium Program testing new technologies for use on future science missions. Among its 12 new technologies were a xenon ion propulsion system, autonomous navigation, a high-efficiency solar array and a miniature camera/spectrometer.