Status Report

NASA Deep Impact Spacecraft Status Report January 13, 2005

By SpaceRef Editor
January 13, 2005
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NASA Deep Impact Spacecraft Status Report January 13, 2005

NASA’s Deep Impact spacecraft is out of safe mode, healthy and on its
way to an encounter with comet Tempel 1 on July 4.

Launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Wednesday, the Deep
Impact spacecraft entered a state called “safe mode” soon after
entering orbit. When a spacecraft enters safe mode, all but essential
spacecraft systems are turned off until it receives new commands from
mission control. When Deep Impact separated from the launch vehicle,
the spacecraft’s computer detected temperatures higher than expected
in the propulsion system.

While in the safe mode, the spacecraft successfully executed all
mission events associated with commencing space flight operations.
Data received from the spacecraft indicate it has deployed and locked
its solar panels, is receiving power and has achieved proper
orientation in space.

“We are out of safe mode and proceeding with in-flight operations,”
said Deep Impact project manager Rick Grammier of NASA’s Jet
Propulsion Laboratory. “We’re back on a nominal timeline and look
forward to our encounter with comet Tempel 1 this summer.”

Deep Impact consists of two parts: a “fly-by” spacecraft and a smaller
“impactor.” The impactor will be released into the comet’s path for a
planned collision on July 4. The crater produced by the impactor may
as large as a football stadium and two to 14 stories deep. Ice and
dust debris will be ejected from the crater, revealing the material

The fly-by spacecraft will observe the effects of the collision.
NASA’s Hubble, Spitzer and Chandra space telescopes, along with other
telescopes on Earth, will also observe the collision.

Comets are time capsules that hold clues about the formation and
evolution of the Solar System. They are composed of ice, gas and
dust, primitive debris from the Solar System’s distant and coldest
regions that formed 4.5 billion years ago.

The management of the Deep Impact launch was the responsibility of
NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Deep Impact was launched from
Pad 17-B at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Delta II launch service
was provided by Boeing Expendable Launch Systems of Huntington Beach,
Calif. The spacecraft was built for NASA by Ball Aerospace and
Technologies Corporation in Boulder, Colo. Deep Impact project
management is overseen by JPL.

For more information about the mission on the Web, visit:


For information about NASA and other Agency programs on the Web,

SpaceRef staff editor.