Deep Space 1


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Deep Space 1

An uncrewed NASA spacecraft, launched Oct. 1998 from Cape Canaveral, Florida, USA, on top of a Boeing Delta rocket. Its primary mission was to test advanced technologies that could lower the cost and risk involved in future scientific interplanetary exploration. Chief among these technologies was a new ion propulsion system utilizing atomic particles rather than conventional chemical fuel. An ion propulsion engine, first used for station-keeping by the PAS-5 telecommunications satellite in 1997, generates thrust by accelerating positively charged ions in a chamber of xenon through a series of gridded electrodes at one end of the chamber. Although such an engine produces only a tiny amount of thrust, the lack of atmospheric drag in outer space means that the thrust's effect builds up, allowing a probe to travel faster and farther. An ion propulsion engine is also very fuel-efficient, with a level of consumption about 10% of that of a conventional rocket engine. Thus, with an engine requiring less propellant than a normal spacecraft, Deep Space 1 was relatively light, its mass at liftoff, including fuel, being just 486.32 kg. By mid-August 2000, the ion propulsion engine had logged 200 days of operation. It continued functioning well until the probe was shut down in December 2001.

Deep Space 1 successfully tested 12 new technologies in all. Among the others were a Miniature Integrated Camera Spectrometer, low-power electronics, and a Small Deep Space Transponder. In the process the probe flew by two asteroids, (9969) Braille and 1992 KD. In September 1999 NASA decided to extend Deep Space 1's mission and sent it to encounter Comet Borelly. It successfully accomplished this activity in September 2001, returning valuable scientific data and excellent images. Deep Space 1 proved to be one of NASA's most successful low-budget missions, with total costs just short of $150 million.

Collins Dictionary of Astronomy © Market House Books Ltd, 2006
References in periodicals archive ?
24, 1998, Deep Space 1 was launched, the spacecraft that reached the comet Borrelly in September 2001.
In the Deep Space 1 ion engine, electrons are emitted from a hollow tube cathode and enter a magnetic-ringed chamber, where they strike xenon atoms.
IN THE MONTHS SINCE NASA'S DEEP SPACE 1 FLEW BY THE nucleus of Comet 15P/Borrelly last September (S&T: December 2001, page 18), mission scientists have come to appreciate how strange this 8-kilometer-long chunk of rock and ice really is.
Some help may come from assays of gas made as Deep Space 1 raced through the coma at more than 16 kilometers per second.
Operating on a makeshift navigation system and performing an extra mission assigned on the fly, NASA's Deep Space 1 probe (DS1) has executed a stunning rendezvous with a comet.
In a risky fly-by, NASA's aging Deep Space 1 spacecraft has navigated close enough to 'see, feel and smell' the rocky nucleus of a comet, giving scientists their best look ever at icy dust and gas thought to be as old as the solar system itself.
'Deep Space 1 plunged into the heart of comet Borrelly and has lived to tell every detail of its spine-tingling adventure,' Marc Rayman, project manager of Deep Space 1 at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, told reporters at a press conference on Tuesday.
Those detections were made when the Galileo craft passed 1,600 kilometers from Gaspra, and Deep Space 1 flew 26 km from Braille.
Infrared spectra taken by the Deep Space 1 spacecraft in late July suggest that Braille, only 2 kilometers long, is a chip off the old block 4 Vesta, the third largest asteroid in the solar system.
EDT on July 29, Deep Space 1 passed within 26 km of Braille.
Known as Remote Agent, the craft-based computer program operated NASA's Deep Space 1 mission in a 2-day test.
"I think of Deep Space 1 as a flying laboratory," says JPUs Marc Rayman.