MEDIA RELATIONS OFFICE
JET PROPULSION LABORATORY
CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION
PASADENA, CALIF. 91109 TELEPHONE (818) 354-5011
Contact: John G. Watson
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE June 5, 1998
NEW DEEP SPACE 1 TRAJECTORY INCLUDES ASTEROID FLYBY
Mission planners for NASA's Deep Space 1 have selected a
near-Earth asteroid, 1992 KD, as a flyby destination.
Last April, NASA announced that the launch date for this
technology validation mission was to be rescheduled from July 21
to October 15, with the launch period extending to October 30.
The new launch date precluded flying by planned destinations,
including the previously announced asteroid McAuliffe, making it
necessary to choose a new target. Deep Space 1 is scheduled to
fly by the newly chosen asteroid 1992 KD on July 28, 1999.
This asteroid was chosen from more than 100 flyby
possibilities. Its elliptical orbit curves within and outside of
Mars' orbit of the Sun, at its farthest going out more than three
times farther from the Sun than Earth. Although scientists
believe its diameter is approximately three kilometers, they know
little else about the body. With this flyby, they can learn more
about its shape, size, surface composition, mineralogy, terrain
and rotation speed.
"This new mission offers excellent opportunities for us to
test our payload of advanced technologies that are so important
for future space exploration," said Dr. Marc Rayman, Deep Space 1's
chief mission engineer. "At the same time, the potential for
bonus scientific return is extraordinary."
Deep Space 1 is the first launch of the New Millennium
Program, a series of missions designed to test new technologies
so that they can be confidently used on science missions of the
21st century. Among the 12 technologies that the mission is
designed to validate is an ion propulsion engine that fires
electrically charged xenon atoms from its thrusters; this is the
first time it has ever been used as the primary propulsion system
in deep space. Also being tested are autonomous optical
navigation, a solar concentrator array and an integrated camera
and imaging spectrometer.
The latter instrument, also known as the Miniature
Integrated Camera Spectrometer, or MICAS, will be validated by
making science observations of asteroid 1992 KD, among several
other methods. The flyby will also help to test both a miniature
integrated ion and electron spectrometer instrument, also termed
the Plasma Experiment for Planetary Exploration (PEPE), and the
spacecraft's autonomous optical navigation system. The remaining
new technologies will be tested during cruise and thrusting
phases both before and after the flyby.
By October, 1999, Deep Space 1 will have completed its
primary mission of demonstrating new technologies and will be on
a trajectory that could result in a flyby of comet Borelly two
years later. Comet Borrelly is one of the most active comets that
regularly visit the inner solar system.
Further information about Deep Space 1 is available at
http://nmp.jpl.nasa.gov/ds1/ . The New Millennium
Program and Deep Space 1 are managed by JPL for NASA's Office of
Space Science. JPL is a division of the California Institute of