Deep Space I spacecraft

Deep Space I spacecraft

Courtesy of NASA

Deep Space 1 was able to accomplish more than anticipated. First, it tested new scientific instruments and software that will help in future space missions, and then it was able to capture images and gather scientific data about asteroid Braille and comet Borrelly.

October 24, 1998

September 22, 2001

End of Mission
December 18, 2001

Test 12 new, high-risk technologies. These include ion propulsion (rocket engine using ionized xenon gas), Autonav (automatic navigation system), Remote Agent (remote intelligent self-repair software), Small Deep-Space Transponder (miniaturized radio system and instruments), Solar Concentrator Array, Beacon Monitor experiment, and others.

The twelve technologies all tested successfully. The craft did a flyby of asteroid Braille and Asteroid 1992 KD in July 1999 at 27 km altitude. After finishing its primary mission, Deep Space 1 embarked on an ambitious extended mission that ended in an encounter with Comet Borrelly. The craft returned the best pictures and other scientific data ever collected from a comet.