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Deep Space One mission to end this week
Posted: Sun, Dec 16, 2001, 12:52 PM ET (1752 GMT)
DS1 flies by comet Borrelly (NASA/JPL illus.) NASA's Deep Space One (DS1) mission is scheduled to end on Tuesday, more than three years after launch and three months after a successful comet flyby. The spacecraft was launched in October 1998 on a one-year mission to test a suite of advanced technologies, including ion propulsion and artificial intelligence control systems. The spacecraft then entered an extended mission phase, which will officially conclude on Tuesday. DS1 encountered a number of problems during its mission, including initial problems with its ion drive and the failure of its star tracker, but engineers on the ground were able to solve those problems. DS1 made a successful flyby of the nucleus of comet Borrelly in September, returning images and other data that show that the comet's surface is among the darkest objects in the solar system. DS1 also flew by the asteroid Braille in 1999. Project officials had hoped to extend DS1's mission into next year to allow the spacecraft to fly by another asteroid, 1999 KK1, but could not secure the additional several million dollars needed for the extension from NASA.
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