[meteorite-list] Deep Impact Spacecraft and Impactor Begin Environmental Testing

From: Ron Baalke <baalke_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Thu Apr 22 10:32:56 2004
Message-ID: <200403301711.JAA13331_at_zagami.jpl.nasa.gov>


Deep Impact Spacecraft and Impactor Begin Environmental Testing
Ball Aerospace & Technology Corporation News Release
March 29, 2004

BOULDER, Colo. - The spacecraft pair
that will give scientists their first up-close look at
a comet entered the final testing phase before their
launch scheduled for December 2004. The Flyby and
Impactor spacecrafts for the Deep Impact mission will
be joined in their final flight configuration to
undergo thermal vacuum, vibration and acoustic testing.
Despite this extensive on-earth testing, the Impactor
spacecraft was designed to be vaporized upon impact
with its target, the comet, Tempel 1. Both comet and
spacecraft will be traveling at closing speeds of
approximately 23,000 miles per hour upon impact.

During the Deep Impact mission, the Flyby spacecraft
will release a smaller Impactor spacecraft that will
collide with Tempel 1. Deep Impact's telescopes aboard
the Flyby spacecraft will witness the impact and return
data to Earth regarding the composition of the comet
based on the ejecta created from the collision. The
collision with the Impactor spacecraft will form a
crater in the comet, about the size of a football
stadium, and as deep as 14-stories. The collision is
expected to occur on July 4, 2005.

The instruments onboard the Flyby spacecraft will
return data on the pristine material in the crater and
the material ejected by the impact. The High Resolution
Imager aboard the Flyby spacecraft will be one of the
largest interplanetary telescopes ever flown in order
to record the details of the collision. The Impactor
spacecraft will also provide close-encounter photos of
the comet just prior to impact, giving scientists the
most complete view of a comet to date.

Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., in association
with the University of Maryland and the Jet Propulsion
Laboratory (JPL), is developing and integrating the
Flyby Spacecraft, the Impactor Spacecraft, and science
instruments, including two telescopes, two cameras and
a spectrometer for analyzing the interior of the comet.
Deep Impact is the eighth mission in NASA's Discovery
Program, and the first mission to ever attempt impact
with a comet nucleus in an effort to probe beneath its

For more information about Deep Impact, please visit:


Ball Corporation is one of the world's leading
suppliers of metal and plastic packaging to the
beverage and food industries. The company also owns
Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. Ball Corporation
reported 2003 sales of $4.9 billion.
Received on Tue 30 Mar 2004 12:11:15 PM PST

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