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Deep Impact launched, goes into safe mode
Posted: Wed, Jan 12, 2005, 8:27 PM ET (0127 GMT)
Delta 2 launch of Deep Impact (NASA/KSC) NASA's Deep Impact spacecraft was successfully launched on a Delta 2 Wednesday afternoon but almost immediately went into a safe mode that project officials say should not jeopardize the mission. The Delta 2 7925 lifted off from Cape Canaveral at 1:47:08 pm EST (1847:08 GMT); its payload, Deep Impact, separated from the booster's upper stage about 35 minutes after liftoff. While the launch appeared to go well, the spacecraft went into a protective safe mode shortly after separation, limiting communications with the ground to a low-data-rate mode. Project engineers said late Wednesday that the safe mode was apparently triggered when sensors noted temperatures in the spacecraft's propulsion system briefly exceeded an upper limit. Engineers believed that there is no damage to the spacecraft and that the problem can be quickly resolved. Deep Impact will fly past the comet Tempel 1 in July, deploying a probe that will collide with the comet's nucleus on July 4.
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