Dr. Marc Rayman's Mission Log

  July 29, 1999

Mission Update:

Thank you for visiting the Deep Space 1 mission status information site, the most authoritative source in the solar system for information on this technology validation mission. This message was logged in at 1:30 am Pacific Time on Thursday, July 29.

Wednesday morning, just over half a day before Deep Space 1's planned encounter with asteroid Braille, a temporary spacecraft problem caused protective software to place DS1 in a predefined safe configuration. (The technical term for this is Sun standby SSA.) The operations team responded with extraordinary rapidity to return the spacecraft to its normal operational configuration while determining how to resume the planned collection of data. It made for an astonishingly exciting day, and a spectacular finale to a remarkable mission!

Deep Space 1 passed by asteroid Braille at about 9:46 pm PDT on Wednesday at a speed of 15.5 km/s or nearly 35,000 miles/hour. The speed was more than 50 times faster than a commercial jet and more than twice as fast as the space shuttle.

As planned, the spacecraft returned only very limited data during the flyby, as pointing its camera at the asteroid meant that it could not point its antenna at Earth. Nevertheless, preliminary indications are that the encounter went very well. The return of data is just now beginning, and all the precious information should be on Earth by Friday.

Your extremely tired but ever-faithful correspondent will update this recording over the weekend with details of what occurred and a preview of upcoming activities.

Deep Space 1 is now more than 25% farther away from Earth than the Sun is and over 490 times as far as the moon. At this distance of over 188 million kilometers, or nearly 117 million miles, radio signals, traveling at the universal limit of the speed of light, take 21 minutes to make the round trip.

Thanks again for logging in!