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Deep Space 1
Country USA
Mission Asteroid/Mars/Comet Flyby Mission
Launch Date October 15, 1998
Launch Vehicle Delta 7326
Spacecraft Mass 474 kg
Key Dates Jul 28, 1999 - Asteroid 1992 KD
2001 - Comet Borrelly?
End of Mission October 1999
Comments First New Millennium Mission


ds1_s.jpg The first New Millennium Program technology-validation mission is also its first deep-space mission, or DS1. During its two-year primary mission, DS1 will test 12 revolutionary technologies destined for future missions. NASA's vision of 21st-century space exploration includes numerous spacecraft to study a diversity of objects in the solar system - the Sun, the planets, and asteroids and comets (the "small bodies") - and beyond. New technologies and capabilities are needed for fast, flexible, cost-efficient access to space. The new technologies on board the DS1 spacecraft will be proven in arduous spaceflight conditions, so that 21st-century missions can use them with confidence.

From Laboratory to Space

With launch scheduled for October 1998 on a Delta 7326 rocket, the DS1 spacecraft will fly by and gather data about an asteroid, and perhaps a comet. Heralding future solar system missions, DS1 will be the first to use high-performance, solar electric ion propulsion. Moving this technology from the laboratory to space is an important challenge for the mission, which will use an advanced solar concentrator array to provide the power necessary for ion propulsion.

The DS1 spacecraft will also be the first to use an onboard, autonomous system to navigate to celestial bodies. The system will make navigation decisions about spacecraft trajectory and targeting of celestial bodies with little assistance from Earth controllers. To get an idea of the power of combining ion propulsion and autonomous navigation, imagine a car driving itself across the United States from Los Angeles, California, to Washington, D.C., and parking itself in a designated space upon arrival - after having completed the entire trip on one tank of fuel.

Firsts of DS1

Ron Baalke, STARDUST Webmaster,
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