Space News
space history and artifacts articles

Messages
space history discussion forums

Sightings
worldwide astronaut appearances

Resources
selected space history documents

Websites
related space history websites

Forum:Satellites - Robotic Probes
Topic:NASA's EPOXI mission (was: Deep Impact)
Want to register?
Who Can Post? Any registered users may post a reply.
About Registration You must be registered in order to post a topic or reply in this forum.
Your UserName:
Your Password:   Forget your password?
Your Reply:


*HTML is ON
*UBB Code is ON

Smilies Legend

Options Disable Smilies in This Post.
Show Signature: include your profile signature. Only registered users may have signatures.
*If HTML and/or UBB Code are enabled, this means you can use HTML and/or UBB Code in your message.

If you have previously registered, but forgotten your password, click here.

EPOXI is an extended mission that uses the already in-flight Deep Impact spacecraft. Its encounter phase with Hartley 2 began at 4 p.m. EDT on Nov. 3, when the spacecraft began to point its two imagers at the comet's nucleus. Imaging of the nucleus began one hour later.

"The spacecraft has provided the most extensive observations of a comet in history," said Ed Weiler, associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate at the agency's Headquarters in Washington. "Scientists and engineers have successfully squeezed world class science from a re-purposed spacecraft at a fraction of the cost to taxpayers of a new science project."

Images from the EPOXI mission reveal comet Hartley 2 to have 100 times less volume than comet Tempel 1, the first target of Deep Impact. More revelations about Hartley 2 are expected as analysis continues.

Initial estimates indicate the spacecraft was about 435 miles from the comet at the closest-approach point. That's almost the exact distance that was calculated by engineers in advance of the flyby.

"It is a testament to our team's skill that we nailed the flyby distance to a comet that likes to move around the sky so much," said Tim Larson, EPOXI project manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif. "While it's great to see the images coming down, there is still work to be done. We have another three weeks of imaging during our outbound journey."

The name EPOXI is a combination of the names for the two extended mission components: the Extrasolar Planet Observations and Characterization (EPOCh), and the flyby of comet Hartley 2, called the Deep Impact Extended Investigation (DIXI). The spacecraft has retained the name Deep Impact. In 2005, Deep Impact successfully released an impactor into the path of comet Tempel 1.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., manages the EPOXI mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate. The spacecraft was built for NASA by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., in Boulder, Colo.

ilbassoBreak out your red-blue 3D glasses! There's a beautiful 3-D animation of the photos from EPOXI's closest approach at unmannedspaceflight.com.
BlackarrowGreat views of another small Solar System body. I hope the people in charge of NASA's funding are taking note: this is first-class science at bargain-basement prices, recycling a "used" spacecraft to conduct other tasks. And I understand they are looking for other tasks for the former Deep Impact spacecraft (although it hasn't enough fuel to visit another comet).

Meanwhile, the former Stardust probe will be making further observations of Comet Tempel 1 next year: more recycling to produce great science at minimal cost.

micropoozLooks like contact has been lost with EPOXI/Deep-Impact.
The spacecraft's handlers lost contact with Deep Impact — which slammed an impactor into Comet Tempel 1 in 2005, made a close flyby of Comet Hartley 2 in 2010 and recently observed ISON, a "comet of the century" candidate — sometime between Aug. 11 and Aug. 14, mission team members announced Sept. 3.

"The last communication was on August 8. After considerable effort, the team on August 30 determined the cause of the problem," principal investigator Mike A'Hearn of the University of Maryland wrote in a brief mission update Tuesday. "The team is now trying to determine how best to try to recover communication."

Robert PearlmanNASA release
NASA's Deep Space Comet Hunter Mission Comes to an End

After almost 9 years in space that included an unprecedented July 4th impact and subsequent flyby of a comet, an additional comet flyby, and the return of approximately 500,000 images of celestial objects, NASA's Deep Impact mission has ended.

The project team at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif., has reluctantly pronounced the mission at an end after being unable to communicate with the spacecraft for over a month. The last communication with the probe was Aug. 8. Deep Impact was history's most traveled comet research mission, going about 4.7 billion miles (7.58 billion kilometers).

"Deep Impact has been a fantastic, long-lasting spacecraft that has produced far more data than we had planned," said Mike A'Hearn, the Deep Impact principal investigator at the University of Maryland in College Park. "It has revolutionized our understanding of comets and their activity."

Deep Impact successfully completed its original bold mission of six months in 2005 to investigate both the surface and interior composition of a comet, and a subsequent extended mission of another comet flyby and observations of planets around other stars that lasted from July 2007 to December 2010. Since then, the spacecraft has been continually used as a space-borne planetary observatory to capture images and other scientific data on several targets of opportunity with its telescopes and instrumentation.

Launched in January 2005, the spacecraft first traveled about 268 million miles (431 million kilometers) to the vicinity of comet Tempel 1. On July 3, 2005, the spacecraft deployed an impactor into the path of comet to essentially be run over by its nucleus on July 4. This caused material from below the comet's surface to be blasted out into space where it could be examined by the telescopes and instrumentation of the flyby spacecraft. Sixteen days after that comet encounter, the Deep Impact team placed the spacecraft on a trajectory to fly back past Earth in late December 2007 to put it on course to encounter another comet, Hartley 2 in November 2010.

"Six months after launch, this spacecraft had already completed its planned mission to study comet Tempel 1," said Tim Larson, project manager of Deep Impact at JPL. "But the science team kept finding interesting things to do, and through the ingenuity of our mission team and navigators and support of NASA's Discovery Program, this spacecraft kept it up for more than eight years, producing amazing results all along the way."

The spacecraft's extended mission culminated in the successful flyby of comet Hartley 2 on Nov. 4, 2010. Along the way, it also observed six different stars to confirm the motion of planets orbiting them, and took images and data of the Earth, the Moon and Mars. These data helped to confirm the existence of water on the Moon, and attempted to confirm the methane signature in the atmosphere of Mars. One sequence of images is a breathtaking view of the Moon transiting across the face of Earth.

In January 2012, Deep Impact performed imaging and accessed the composition of distant comet C/2009 P1 (Garradd). It took images of comet ISON this year and collected early images of comet ISON in June.

After losing contact with the spacecraft last month, mission controllers spent several weeks trying to uplink commands to reactivate its onboard systems. Although the exact cause of the loss is not known, analysis has uncovered a potential problem with computer time tagging that could have led to loss of control for Deep Impact's orientation. That would then affect the positioning of its radio antennas, making communication difficult, as well as its solar arrays, which would in turn prevent the spacecraft from getting power and allow cold temperatures to ruin onboard equipment, essentially freezing its battery and propulsion systems.

"Despite this unexpected final curtain call, Deep Impact already achieved much more than ever was envisioned," said Lindley Johnson, the Discovery Program Executive at NASA Headquarters, and the Program Executive for the mission since a year before it launched. "Deep Impact has completely overturned what we thought we knew about comets and also provided a treasure trove of additional planetary science that will be the source data of research for years to come."

The mission is part of the Discovery Program managed at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. JPL manages the Deep Impact mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. of Boulder, Colo., built the spacecraft.

SkyMan1958Here's a series of pictures of the Moon transiting the Earth taken from 50,000,000 km. by Deep Impact.

Contact Us | The Source for Space History & Artifacts

Copyright 1999-2014 collectSPACE.com All rights reserved.


Ultimate Bulletin Board Version 5.47a





advertisement