Status Report

Today on the ESA TV Service Schedule 6 Feb 2001

By SpaceRef Editor
February 6, 2001
Filed under ,

Today’s transmission of the ESA TV Service includes:

06-Feb-01 14:00 – 14:30 GMT

NEAR/Shoemaker background footage

NASA’s cometary mission on the way to a dramatic close

Background information on the transmission:

History’s first attempt to land a spacecraft on an asteroid, will take place of 12 February when NASA’s mission controllers hope to drop the NEAR Shoemaker probe to a soft landing on asteriod Eros.

If all goes well, the 495-kilogramme probe will descend from its orbit around the asteroid and slide gently onto the rocky surface, perhaps bouncing slightly before resting on its side.

Since its launch in 1996, NEAR Shoemaker has produced a wealth of scientific data on asteroids.

Chances are slim that in addition to a soft landing, the antenna will still point toward the Earth, and the solar power panels will make electricity. This is why NASA calls the landing manoevre an end-of-mission because if it fails, NEAR Shoemaker will fall onto Eros and be forever silent.

On 12 February, the ESA TV Service will transmit the end-of-mission/landing attempt live. Today’s transmission includes pre-event footage, as follows:

3-D graphics of NEAR Shoemaker in orbit aroud Eros, and intended landing manoevre

3-D graphics of asteroid Eros made from NEAR data

Soundbites by NEAR project manager and project scientist

More background information can be found on

Transmission details:Eutelsat W1 at 10 degrees East

Transponder B5, horizontal, dig ch 1

F=11.13475 MHz, SR=5.632 MS/sec, FEC=3/4

For further information, visit our website at For other enquires, contact Claus Habfast, Tel +31 71 565 3838, Fax +31 71 565 6340, e-mail

SpaceRef staff editor.