Impact Approved for Implementation
Deep Impact mission
has passed another milestone on its road toward a January
2004 launch and a July 2005 encounter with a speeding comet.
Impact successfully completed a three-day critical design
review in early February. After examining details of the mission,
three independent review boards concluded that the design
is mature and ready to proceed to building and testing the
project's two spacecraft.
was a major step for us in ensuring both ourselves and NASA
that our designs are solid and reliable," said Principal Investigator
Michael A'Hearn of the Univeristy of Maryland. "It is truly
exciting to see the first pieces of hardware beginning to
arrive at Ball Aerospace and to realize that we are well on
Impact will intercept comet Tempel 1 in July of 2005. Its
flyby spacecraft will release a 770-pound impactor that will
excavate a large crater in the comet's nucleus, allowing both
the flyby spacecraft and Earth-based observers to study the
differences between the surface material and the interior
of the cometary nucleus.
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