Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. 24/7 Space News .

Subscribe to our free daily newsletters

DS1 Completes Testing As Mission Extended
By Dr Marc Rayman
 Pasadena - August 24, 1999 - Deep Space 1's mission to test high-risk, high-payoff technologies is complete. DS1 tested 12 advanced technologies so that future missions would not have to face the cost and risk of being the first users of the new systems.

DS1 took the risks so that future missions would not have to. And now that the mission has exceeded its challenging objectives of evaluating technologies, it is turning to the job of conducting science.

DS1, which has to its credit a wealth of technology testing and a bonus asteroid encounter, was scheduled to end on September 18. But earlier this month, NASA approved an extension to the mission.

Now it is important to keep in mind that this continuation of the mission is threatened as long as NASA's budget remains in jeopardy, as it has been since a committee in the House of Representatives voted to cut NASA funding recently.

The Congressional debate on the budget is not yet complete, but if the outcome is not favorable for NASA, the consequences to DS1, and many other important and exciting space projects, may be grave.

But if the funding is available, DS1 will combine its advanced technologies with the experience of the encounter with asteroid Braille to conduct two very exciting encounters with comets in 2001, both of which were described in the last report.

To prepare for this encore, less than a day and a half after passing the asteroid, DS1 resumed thrusting with its ion propulsion system, with AutoNav firmly at the helm.

It is now on its way to Comet Wilson-Harrington, which it will reach in less than 1.5 years. DS1 will travel almost 1.9 billion kilometers, or over 1.1 billion miles, from its encounter last month with asteroid Braille to its appointment with Comet Wilson-Harrington.

The journey will take it once around the Sun, with its ion propulsion system thrusting most of the time. As devoted listeners to these recordings know, the ion propulsion system has proven itself to be wonderfully efficient.

In September 2001, DS1 will sail past Comet Borrelly, one of the most active comets that regularly visit the inner solar system.

At DS1's current distance from the Sun, each day the ion engine pushes on the spacecraft enough to change its speed by slightly less than 15 miles/hour. But day after day, week after week, the effect of the exquisitely gentle thrust builds up.

During the 9-month technology testing phase of the mission, the ion propulsion system thrusted for a total of 2.5 months. That was enough to test this important technology and to propel DS1 to its encounter with asteroid Braille.

In all that time, the ion propulsion system consumed only about 11.5 kg, or about 25 pounds, of xenon, yet its steady push was enough to change the spacecraft's speed by well over 1500 miles/hour. DS1's orbit around the Sun took it over 600 million kilometers, or about 375 million miles, from Earth to Braille.

The spacecraft has been thrusting for the past 3 weeks, and it has another 16 months of powered flight ahead, spread out over the next year and a half. In that time, it will consume most or all of the remaining 69 kg (152 pounds) of xenon.

The cumulative effect of that thrusting will be enough to change the spacecraft's speed by another 4 kilometers/second, or nearly 9000 miles/hour. That will get the explorer to its planned meetings with the two comets. The tiny probe will travel another 1.8 billion kilometers, or more than 1.1 billion miles, around the Sun by the time it reaches Comet Borrelly.

Deep Space 1 is now about 38% farther away from Earth than the Sun is and 538 times as far as the moon. At this distance of 206 million kilometers, or 128 million miles, radio signals, traveling at the universal limit of the speed of light, take almost 23 minutes to make the round trip.

  • Deep Space One - SpaceDaily Special Report
  • Deep Space 1 - Main Site
  • Views of Vesta
  • Views of Asteroids

  • FlyBy Press Kit - PDF 820KB (a big file)
  • The Planetary Society
  • Deep Space 1 Artificial Intelligence Test
  • Name the Asteroid Contest
  • Remote Agent Experiment
  • Deep Space 1: Rocketing to the Future

    Deep Space 1 Reports From Spacer.Com

    Thanks for being here;
    We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

    With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

    Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

    If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

    SpaceDaily Contributor
    $5 Billed Once

    credit card or paypal
    SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
    $5 Billed Monthly

    paypal only

    Memory Foam Mattress Review
    Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
    XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

  • The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2016 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.