MEDIA RELATIONS OFFICE
JET PROPULSION LABORATORY
CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION
PASADENA, CALIF. 91109 TELEPHONE (818) 354-5011
Contact: John G. Watson
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEApril 17, 1998
DEEP SPACE 1 LAUNCH RESCHEDULED TO OCTOBER
The planned July 1998 launch of NASA's Deep Space 1
technology validation mission from Cape Canaveral, FL, has been
rescheduled for October.
The delay is due to a combination of late delivery of the
spacecraft's power electronics system, and an ambitious flight
software schedule, which together leave insufficient time to test
the spacecraft thoroughly for a July launch.
The power electronics system regulates and distributes power
produced by not only the solar concentrator array, a pair of
experimental solar panels comprised of 720 cylindrical Fresnel
lenses, but also by an on-board battery. Among many other
functions, it helps the solar array to operate at peak efficiency
and ensures that the battery is able to cover temporary surges in
power needs so that the ion propulsion system (which needs
electricity for its basic operations) receives a steady power
"With a new launch date for this bold mission, we can be
more confident that we will be ready to fully exercise our
payload of important technologies." Chief Mission Engineer Dr.
Marc Rayman of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena,
CA, explained. "The entire DS1 team looks forward to this
opportunity to make a significant contribution to science
missions of the future through the capabilities we are testing on
Deep Space 1 is the first launch of the New Millennium
Program, a series of missions designed to test new technologies
so that they can be confidently used on science missions of the
21st century. Among the 12 technologies that the mission is
designed validate are ion propulsion, autonomous optical
navigation, a solar concentrator array and an integrated camera
and imaging spectrometer.
The earlier July launch period for DS1 allowed it to fly a
trajectory encompassing flybys of an asteroid, Mars and a comet.
By the end of May, the mission design team is scheduled to
finalize new target bodies in the Solar System for DS1 to
encounter based on an October launch date.
The New Millennium Program and Deep Space 1 are managed by
JPL for NASA's Office of Space Science. JPL is a division of the
California Institute of Technology.