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Race To Space
Someone will win the prize...
               ... but at what cost?
Visit RaceToSpaceProject.com to find out more!

Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan set out from Spain to find a western passage to the Spice Islands of Indonesia, on the journey that would end with one of his ships completing the first successful circumnavigation of the Earth.
ref: en.wikipedia.org

Born, Sir James Dewar, Scottish chemist, inventor (benzine, liquid oxygen, Dewar flask, vacuum flask)
ref: en.wikipedia.org

A. Charlois discovered asteroid #377 Campania.

M. Wolf discovered asteroids #515 Athalia and #2017 Wesson; R. S. Dugan discovered asteroid #516 Amherstia.

J. H. Metcalf discovered asteroid #673 Edda.

M. Wolf discovered asteroids #831 Stateira, #832 Karin, #833 Monica and #834 Burnhamia.

G. Neujmin discovered asteroids #1190 Pelagia, #1269 Rollandia and #1725 CrAO.

Werner von Braun and the first members of the German Rocket Team arrived in the USA under "Operation Paperclip."
ref: en.wikipedia.org

Born, James Anthony Pawelczyk PhD (at Buffalo, New York, USA), NASA payload specialist astronaut (STS 90; nearly 15d 22h in spaceflgiht)
Astronaut Jim Pawelczyk, STS-90 payload specialist, NASA photo (20 October 1996)Source: Wikipedia (spaceflight.nasa.gov killed 25 Feb 2021) James_A_Pawelczyk.jpg
Astronaut Jim Pawelczyk, STS-90 payload specialist, NASA photo (20 October 1996)
Source: Wikipedia (spaceflight.nasa.gov killed 25 Feb 2021)
ref: www.nasa.gov

In a United Nations speech, US President Kennedy proposed a joint US-Soviet Lunar mission.

US President John F. Kennedy, during an address before the United Nations General Assembly on 20 September 1963, suggested the possibility of Russian-American cooperation in space. Though not proposing a specific program, Kennedy stated "in a field where the United States and the Soviet Union have a special capacity - the field of space - there is room for new cooperation, for further joint efforts in the regulation and exploration of space. I include among these possibilities," he said, "a joint expedition to the Moon. ... Surely we should explore whether the scientists and astronauts of our two countries - indeed, of all the world - cannot work together in the conquest of space, sending some day in this decade to the Moon, not the representatives of a single nation, but the representatives of all humanity."
ref: history.nasa.gov

Purple Mountain Observatory discovered asteroid #2752.

1966 12:32:00 GMT
NASA launched Surveyor 2, an unsuccessful attempt to make a soft landing on the Moon.

Surveyor 2, launched 20 September 1966, was the second of a series designed to achieve a soft landing on the Moon and return Lunar surface photography for determining characteristics of the Lunar terrain for the Apollo Lunar landing missions. It was also equipped to return data on radar reflectivity of the Lunar surface, bearing strength of the Lunar surface, and spacecraft temperatures for use in the analysis of Lunar surface temperatures. The target area for the mission was within Sinus Medii. The Atlas-Centaur launch vehicle placed the spacecraft on a nearly perfect Lunar intercept trajectory that would have missed the aim point by about 130 kilometers. Following injection, the spacecraft successfully accomplished all required sequences up to the midcourse thrust phase. During the midcourse maneuver, one of the three vernier engines failed to ignite, resulting in an unbalanced thrust that caused the spacecraft to tumble. Attempts to salvage the mission failed. Contact with the spacecraft was lost at 5:35 AM EDT on 22 September, and Lunar surface impact was predicted at 11:18 PM EDT the same day.

See also NASA/JPL: Surveyor II Impacts Moon
ref: nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov

1970 05:18:00 GMT
USSR's Luna 16 landed on the Moon in Mare Foecunditatis (the Sea of Fertility), approximately 100 km west of Webb crater, the first robotic sample return mission.

Luna 16 was the first robotic probe to land on the Moon and return a sample to Earth, the first Lunar sample return mission by the Soviet Union, and the third Lunar sample return overall, following the Apollo 11 and 12 missions. The spacecraft consisted of two attached stages, an ascent stage mounted on top of a descent stage. The descent stage was a cylindrical body with four protruding landing legs, fuel tanks, a landing radar, and a dual descent engine complex. A main descent engine was used to slow the craft until it reached a cutoff point, determined by the onboard computer based on altitude and velocity. After cutoff, a bank of lower thrust jets was used for the final landing. The descent stage also acted as a launch pad for the ascent stage. The ascent stage was a smaller cylinder with a rounded top. It carried a cylindrical hermetically sealed soil sample container inside a re-entry capsule. The spacecraft descent stage was equipped with a television camera, radiation and temperature monitors, telecommunications equipment, and an extendable arm with a drilling rig for collecting the Lunar soil sample.

Luna 16 was launched toward the Moon from a preliminary Earth orbit on 12 September 1970, and after one mid-course correction on 13 September, it entered a circular 111 km Lunar orbit on 17 September 1970. The Lunar gravity was studied from this orbit, and then the spacecraft was fired into an elliptical orbit with a perilune of 15.1 km. The main braking engine was fired using a timed burn on 20 September, initiating the descent to the Lunar surface. At an altitude of 600 meters, the new-design braking rocket was automatically controlled according to height and velocity as measured by radar. The main descent engine cut off at an altitude of 20 meters and the landing jets cut off at 2 meters height at a velocity less than 2.4 m/s (14 mph), followed by vertical free-fall. At 05:18 UT, the spacecraft soft landed on the Lunar surface in Mare Foecunditatis (the Sea of Fertility) as planned, approximately 100 km west of Webb crater. Getting there had required 68 communications sessions over nine days of flight. This was the first landing made in the dark on the Moon, as the Sun had set about 60 hours earlier. According to the Bochum Radio Space Observatory in the Federal Republic of Germany, strong and good quality television pictures were returned by the spacecraft. However, since the pictures were not made available to the US by any sources, there is a question of the reliability of the Bochum report. The drill was deployed at 10:00 UT and penetrated to a depth of 35 cm before encountering hard rock or large fragments of rock. The column of regolith in the drill tube was then transferred to the soil sample container. After 26 hours and 25 minutes on the Lunar surface, the ascent stage, with the hermetically sealed soil sample container, lifted off from the Moon carrying 101 grams of collected material at 07:43 UT on 21 September. The lower stage of Luna 16 remained on the Lunar surface and continued transmission of Lunar temperature and radiation data. The Luna 16 re-entry capsule returned directly to Earth without any mid-course corrections, made a ballistic entry into the Earth's atmosphere on 24 September 1970 and deployed parachutes. The capsule landed approximately 80 km SE of the city of Dzhezkazgan in Kazakhstan at 03:26 UT, only 30 km from its aim point. There was ideal weather in the recovery area, the radio beacon worked well, and a helicopter picked up the capsule only a few minutes after landing.
ref: nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov

T. Gehrels discovered asteroid #1921 Pala.

L. Zhuravleva discovered asteroids #3260 and #3771.

1977 17:28:00 GMT
USSR launched Ekran 2, positioned in geosynchronous orbit over the Indian Ocean at 99 deg E, to transmit USSR Central Television programs to the network of public receivers located in population centers in Siberia and the Far North.
ref: nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov

1979 05:27:00 GMT
NASA launched the third High-Energy Astronomy Observatory (HEAO 3) into a high-inclination orbit from Cape Canaveral, Florida, to study gamma and cosmic rays.

This third High-Energy Astronomy Observatory (HEAO 3), launched 20 September 1979, performed a sky survey of gamma rays and cosmic rays in a manner similar to HEAO 1. It had a higher orbital inclination than previous missions in the series, since the payload consisted primarily of cosmic-ray instrumentation, and a greater cosmic-ray flux occurs near the Earth's magnetic poles. The normal operating mode was a continuous celestial scan about the Z axis (which nominally pointed to the Sun). The scientific objectives of the mission were:

(1) to determine the isotopic composition of the most abundant components of the cosmic-ray flux with atomic mass between 7 and 56, and the flux of each element with atomic number (Z) between Z = 4 and Z = 50;

(2) to search for super-heavy nuclei up to Z = 120 and measure the composition of the nuclei with Z >20;

(3) to study intensity, spectrum, and time behavior of X-ray and gamma-ray sources between 0.06 and 10 MeV; measure isotropy of the diffuse X-ray and gamma-ray background; and perform an exploratory search for X-and gamma-ray line emissions.
ref: nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov

E. F. Helin discovered asteroid #3043 San Diego.

A. Mrkos discovered asteroid #3490; H. Debehogne discovered asteroid #3465.

1990 20:17:00 GMT
USSR launched Molniya 3-39 from Plesetsk to operate the long range telephone and telegraph communications system in the USSR, and to transmit USSR Central Television programs to stations in the Orbita and cooperating international networks.
ref: nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov

1992 08:53:23 EDT (GMT -4:00:00)
NASA's STS 47 (Endeavor 2, 50th Shuttle mission) ended after carrying the Spacelab-J experiment platform to space.

STS 47 was launched 12 September 1992, the first on-time Shuttle launch since STS 61-B in November 1985. Crew firsts on the flight included Dr. Mae Jemison as the first African-American woman in space, Lee and Davis, the first married couple, and Mohri the first Japanese to fly on the Shuttle.

STS 47's primary payload, Spacelab-J (SL-J), utilized the pressurized Spacelab module. Jointly sponsored by NASA and Japan's National Space Development Agency (NASDA), SL-J included 24 materials science and 19 life sciences experiments, of which 34 were sponsored by NASDA, seven by NASA, and two were collaborative efforts. The mission was extended one day to further the science objectives. Materials science investigations covered such fields as biotechnology, electronic materials, fluid dynamics and transport phenomena, glasses and ceramics, metals and alloys, and acceleration measurements. Life sciences investigations covered human health, cell separation and biology, development biology, animal and human physiology and behavior, space radiation, and biological rhythms. Test subjects included the crew; Japanese koi fish (carp); cultured animal and plant cells; chicken embryos; fruit flies; fungi and plant seeds; and frogs and frog eggs.

Also flying in payload bay on STS 47 were 12 Get Away Special (GAS) canisters (10 holding experiments, two for ballast) attached to a GAS Bridge Assembly.

Middeck experiments on STS 47 were: Israeli Space Agency Investigation About Hornets (ISAIAH); Solid Surface Combustion Experiment (SSCE); Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiment (SAREX II); Air Force Maui Optical Site (AMOS); and Ultraviolet Plume Instrument (UVPI).

STS 47 ended on 20 September 1992 when Endeavour landed on revolution 126 on Runway 33, Kennedy Space Center, Florida. Rollout distance: 8,567 feet (2,611 meters). Rollout time: 51 seconds. Launch weight: 258,679 pounds. Landing weight: 218,854 pounds. Orbit altitude: 166 nautical miles. Orbit inclination: 57 degrees. Mission duration: seven days, 22 hours, 30 minutes, 23 seconds. Miles traveled: 3.3 million. It was the first time a Shuttle drag chute was deployed in operational mode, before nosegear touchdown. Postlanding assessment showed the orbiter veered off the runway centerline, possibly due to the drag chute.

The flight crew for STS 47 was: Robert L. Gibson, Commander; Curtis L. Brown, Jr, Pilot; Mark C. Lee, Payload Commander; N. Jan Davis, Mission Specialist; Jay Apt, Mission Specialist; Mae C. Jemison, Mission Specialist; Mamoru Mohri, Payload Specialist.
ref: www.nasa.gov

During the 3h 14m Mir EO-14-2 EVA, Mir cosmonauts Tsibliyev and Serebrov completed the installation of the Rapana truss on the Mir space station, and installed materials, samples and equipment on the Rapana for exposure tests.
ref: www.spacefacts.de

1993 05:12:00 GMT
India launched the IRS-1E landsat from Sriharikota on a PSLV-D1 booster, but a software error caused the vehicle to go off course, and it did not achieve orbit.
ref: en.wikipedia.org

1994 17:12:52 EDT (GMT -4:00:00)
NASA's STS 64 (Discovery 19, 64th Shuttle mission) ended after carrying the LITE and SPARTAN-201 experiment platforms to space.

STS 64 was launched 9 September 1994 in a two and a half hour launch window that opened at 4:30 PM EDT. The liftoff was delayed due to weather concerns.

STS 64 marked the first flight of the Lidar In-space Technology Experiment (LITE), and first untethered US extravehicular activity (EVA) in 10 years. The LITE payload employed LIDAR, which stands for LIght Detection And Ranging, a type of optical "radar" using laser pulses instead of radio waves, to study the Earth's atmosphere. The first lidar spaceflight was a highly successful technology test. The LITE instrument operated for 53 hours, yielding more than 43 hours of high-rate data. Unprecedented views were obtained of cloud structures, storm systems, dust clouds, pollutants, forest burning and surface reflectance. Sites studied included the atmosphere above northern Europe, Indonesia and the south Pacific, Russia and Africa. Sixty-five groups from 20 countries made validation measurements with ground-based and aircraft instruments to verify the LITE data. The LITE science program is part of NASA's Mission to Planet Earth.

Mission Specialists Lee and Meade completed the 28th EVA of the Space Shuttle program on 16 September. During the six-hour, 15-minute EVA, they tested a new backpack called Simplified Aid for EVA Rescue (SAFER), designed for use in event a crew member becomes untethered while conducting an EVA.

On the fifth day of the mission, the Shuttle Pointed Autonomous Research Tool for Astronomy-201 (SPARTAN-201) free flyer was released using the Remote Manipulator System (RMS) arm. Making its second flight on the Shuttle, SPARTAN-201 was designed to collect data about the acceleration and velocity of the solar wind, and to measure aspects of Sun's corona. Data was recorded for playback after return to Earth. SPARTAN-201 was retrieved after two days of data collection.

Other cargo bay payloads on STS 64 were: Shuttle Plume Impingement Flight Experiment (SPIFEX), a 33-foot (10-meter) long instrumented extension for the Shuttle robot arm, SPIFEX was designed to collect data about the orbiter Reaction Control System (RCS) thrusters to aid understanding about potential effects of thruster plumes on large space structures, such as the Mir space station or the International Space Station; Robot Operated Processing System (ROMPS) was the first US robotics system operated in space, mounted in two Get Away Special (GAS) canisters attached to the cargo bay wall. A GAS bridge assembly in the cargo bay carried 12 cans, 10 holding self-contained experiments.

Middeck experiments on STS 64 included: Biological Research in Canister (BRIC) experiment to investigate effects of spaceflight on plant specimens; Military Application of Ship Tracks (MAST) to take high-resolution imagery of ship tracks and to analyze wake formation and dissipations; Solid Surface Combustion Experiment (SSCE) to supply information on flame propagation over fuels in space; Radiation Monitoring Equipment III (RME III) to measure ionizing radiation; Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiment II (SAREX II) to demonstrate feasibility of short-wave radio contacts between the orbiter and ground based amateur radio operators; and the Air Force Maui Optical Station (AMOS) test, which required no onboard hardware.

STS 64 ended on 20 September 1994 when Discovery landed on revolution 176 on Runway 04, Edwards Air Force Base, California. Rollout distance: 9,656 feet (2,943 meters). Rollout time: 60 seconds. Orbit altitude: 140 nautical miles. Orbit inclination: 57 degrees. Mission duration: ten days, 22 hours, 49 minutes, 57 seconds. Miles traveled: 4.5 million. The mission, already extended one day, was extended again after the first landing opportunities at the Kennedy Space Center on 19 September were waved off due to stormy weather. Two additional opportunities at KSC on 20 September were also waved off, and the orbiter was diverted to California. Discovery was returned to KSC on 27 September, and towed to the Orbiter Processing Facility on 28 September 1994.

The flight crew for STS 64 was: Richard N. Richards, Commander; L. Blaine Hammond, Jr., Pilot; Jerry M. Linenger, Mission Specialist 1; Susan J. Helms, Mission Specialist 2; Carl J. Meade, Mission Specialist 3; Mark C. Lee, Mission Specialist 4.
ref: www.nasa.gov

Died (heart attack in his sauna), Gherman Stepanovich Titov, Soviet cosmonaut (Vostok 2; 25h 18m in spaceflight), second person in orbit, first to spend over 24 hours in space, youngest (25) person in orbit (as of 2021)
ref: en.wikipedia.org

2000 02:56:48 CDT (GMT -5:00:00)
NASA's STS 106 (Atlantis 22) ended after International Space Station Flight 2A.2b, aimed at preparing the ISS for permanant occupation.

STS 106 was launched 8 September 2000 from Kennedy Space Center's Launch Complex 39B after a smooth countdown. The inital orbit of 72 x 328 km x 51.6 deg was circularised by the Shuttle's OMS engines at apogee.

Of nearly 12 days in orbit, STS 106 spent seven docked with the International Space Station, preparing the ISS for the arrival of the first residents in its permanent habitation, the Expedition One crew. Atlantis docked with the PMA-2 adapter on the International Space Station at 05:51 GMT on 10 September.

The STS 106 crew spent five days, 9 hours and 21 minutes inside the International Space Station. The seven crewmembers completed a long checklist aimed at making the station a home for its first residents, who would arrive about five weeks later to stay for more than four months. Acting as plumbers, movers, installers and electricians, the astronauts installed batteries, power converters, a toilet and a treadmill on the orbiting outpost. They also delivered more than 2,993 kilograms (6,600 pounds) of supplies.

Astronauts Lu and Malenchenko performed a spacewalk beginning at 04:47 GMT on 11 September. They rode the RMS arm up to the newly arrived Zvezda Service Module and began installing power, data and communications cables, reaching a distance of 30 meters from the airlock when installing Zvezda's magnetometer. The total EVA duration was 6 hours 21 minutes.

Atlantis' thrusters were fired four times to boost the station's altitude by 22.5 kilometers (14 miles).

The Shuttle undocked from ISS at 03:44 GMT on 18 September. After undocking, Pilot Scott Altman moved Atlantis to a distance of about 137 meters (450 feet) from the station, and made two circuits of the station, each lasting half an orbit, as the rest of the crew photographed its exterior for documentation. The final separation maneuver was executed at 05:34 GMT.

The payload bay doors were closed at 04:14 GMT on 20 September, and at 06:50 GMT, the OMS engines ignited for a three minute burn lowering the orbit from 374 x 386 km x 51.6 deg to 22 x 380 km x 51.6 deg. After entry interface at 07:25 GMT, STS 106 ended 20 September 2000 when Atlantis landed on Runway 15 at Kennedy Space Center, Florida, with main gear touchdown at 07:56:48 GMT, for a mission duration of 11 days, 19 hours, 10 minutes.

The flight crew for STS 106 was: Terrence Wilcutt, Commander; Scott D. Altman, Pilot; Edward T. Lu, Mission Specialist 1; Richard A. Mastracchio, Mission Specialist 2; Daniel C. Burbank, Mission Specialist 3; Yuri I. Malenchenko, Mission Specialist 4; Boris V. Morukov, Mission Specialist 5.
ref: www.nasa.gov

2004 10:31:00 GMT
India launched Edusat (GSAT-3), the first Indian satellite built exclusively for the educational sector, from Sriharikota on the first operational flight of the GSLV launch vehicle.

India launched Edusat (GSAT-3) from Sriharikota on the first operational flight of the GSLV launch vehicle, on 20 September 2004. The first Indian satellite built exclusively for the educational sector, it was mainly intended to meet the demand for an interactive satellite based distance education system for India. Edusat was placed into a geosynchronous transfer orbit by the booster, and was reached geostationary orbit by firing its on board Liquid Apogee Motor (LAM) in stages. Once in geostationary orbit, the satellite was co-located with the Kalpana-1 and Insat-3C satellites at 74 degrees East longitude. EDUSAT was decommissioned in September 2010 and relocated to a graveyard orbit.

Compared with earlier satellites in the Insat series, Edusat used several new technologies: The spacecraft was built around the I-2K standardized spacecraft bus; it had a multiple spot beam antenna with a 1.2 meter reflector to direct Ku band spot beams, a dual core bent heat pipe for thermal control, high efficiency multi-junction solar cells, and an improved thruster configuration for optimized propellant use for orbit and orientation maintenance. The satellite used radiatively cooled Ku-band Travelling Wave Tube (TWT) amplifiers, and a dielectrically loaded C-band demultiplexer for its communication payloads. Edusat carried five Ku-band transponders providing spot beams, one Ku-band transponder providing a national beam, and six Extended C-band transponders with a national coverage beam. It joined the Insat system that already provided more than 130 transponders in C-band, Extended C-band and Ku-band for a variety of telecommunication and television services.
ref: nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory reluctantly pronounced the end of the Deep Impact mission after being unable to communicate with the probe for over a month.

The goals of the Deep Impact mission were to rendezvous with comet 9P/Tempel 1 and launch a projectile into the comet nucleus. This objective was achieved on 4 July 2005 at approximately 0545 GMT. Observations were made of the ejecta (much of which represented pristine material from the interior of the comet), the crater formation process, the resulting crater, and any outgassing from the nucleus, particularly the newly exposed surface. The scientific objectives of the mission were to: improve the knowledge of the physical characteristics of cometary nuclei and directly assess the interior of cometary nucleus; determine properties of the surface layers such as density, strength, porosity, and composition from the crater and its formation; study the relationship between the surface layers of a cometary nucleus and the possibly pristine materials of the interior by comparison of the interior of the crater with the surface before impact; and improve our understanding of the evolution of cometary nuclei, particularly their approach to dormancy, by comparing the interior and the surface. The project was selected as a Discovery class mission in July 1999.

Deep Impact was launched on 12 January 2005 from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on a Delta II booster. The spacecraft transferred into a heliocentric orbit to rendezvous with comet P/Tempel 1 on 4 July 2005. Deep Impact was about 880,000 km from the comet on 3 July 2005, moving at 10.2 km/s relative to the comet, when the projectile was released and the flyby spacecraft executed a maneuver to slow down by 120 m/s and divert by 6 m/s. On 4 July, the impactor struck the sunlit side of the comet nucleus approximately 24 hours after release, at 0545 UT. At 10.2 km/s velocity, the impactor had an impact energy of about 19 gigajoules, and was expected to form a crater roughly 25 meters deep and 100 meters wide. (The estimate was based on models of comet structure and subject to large uncertainty.) Material from the nucleus were ejected into space, and the impactor and much of the ejecta vaporized.

The flyby spacecraft was approximately 10,000 km away at the time of impact and began imaging 60 seconds earlier. At 600 seconds after impact, the spacecraft was about 4000 km from the nucleus and observations of the crater began and continued up to a range of about 700 km, about 50 seconds before closest approach. At this point (about 961 seconds after impact), imaging ended as the spacecraft reoriented itself by 45 degrees to optimize protection from dust damage as it flew by the nucleus. Closest approach to the nucleus was at a distance of about 500 km. At 1270 seconds, the crossing of the inner coma was complete and the spacecraft oriented itself to look back at the comet and begin imaging again. At 3000 seconds, the spacecraft began playback of data to Earth at 20 to 200 kilobits per second. The comet and spacecraft were about 0.89 AU from Earth and 1.5 AU from the Sun during the encounter. Selected impactor and flyby images and spectra were returned in real time to Earth during the encounter. Primary data was returned over the first day after encounter, with a 28 day supplemental data return period. Earth-based observatories also studied the impact. The spacecraft ranged over a distance of 0.93 to 1.56 AU from the Sun during the mission.

The end of the mission was originally scheduled for August 2005, and a subsequent extended mission included another comet flyby and observations of planets around other stars that lasted from July 2007 to December 2010. In particular, it flew past comet Hartley 2 on 4 November 2010, passing within 435 miles (700 km) while moving at 27,500 miles per hour (44,300 km/h). After almost 9 years in space and the return of approximately 500,000 images of celestial objects, the project team at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, reluctantly pronounced the mission at an end on 20 September 2013 after being unable to communicate with the spacecraft for over a month. The last communication with the probe was Aug. 8. Deep Impact was history's most traveled comet research mission, going about 4.71 billion miles (7.58 billion kilometers).

The Deep Impact spacecraft consisted of a 370 kg cylindrical copper impactor attached to a 650 kg flyby bus. The spacecraft was a box-shaped honeycomb aluminum framework with a flat rectangular Whipple debris shield mounted on one side to protect components during close approach to the comet. Body-mounted on the framework were one high- and one medium-resolution instrument, each consisting of an imaging camera and an infrared spectrometer, used to observe the ejected ice and dust. The medium resolution camera had a field of view (FOV) of 0.587 degrees and a resolution of 7 m/pixel at 700 km distance and was used for navigation and context images. The high resolution camera had a FOV of 0.118 degrees and a resolution of 1.4 m/pixel at 700 km. The infrared spectrometers covered the range from 1.05 to 4.8 micrometers with FOV of 0.29 degrees (hi-res) and 1.45 degrees (lo-res). The total flyby bus instrument payload had a mass of 90 kg and used an average of 92 W during encounter.

The impactor projectile was made of primarily copper (49%) and 24% aluminum, so it would be easily identifiable in the observed collision debris, and minimize contamination in the spectra after the projectile was largely vaporized and mixed in with the comet ejecta on impact. The impactor was a short hexagonal cylinder built above the copper cratering mass with a small hydrazine propulsion system for targeting which could provide delta-V of 25 m/s. Targeting was accomplished using a high-precision star-tracker, auto-navigation algorithms, and the Impactor Targeting Sensor (ITS), a camera which provided images for autonomous control and targeting. The ITS was operated until impact, and images were sent back to Earth via the flyby spacecraft. The impactor was mechanically and electrically connected to the flyby spacecraft until 24 hours prior to encounter. After separation, it ran on internal battery power.

Comet 9P/Tempel 1 is a periodic comet which orbits the Sun every 5.51 years. It has a semi-major axis of 3.12 astronomical units (AU, the distance from the Sun to the Earth) and a perihelion distance of 1.5 AU, between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, in an orbit inclined 10.5 degrees to the ecliptic. The orbit has changed in the past, but its perihelion has been within 10 AU for at least 300,000 years. The nucleus is estimated to be roughly 14 km long and 4 km wide. Perihelion for the current orbit occured on 5 July 2005, the day after the encounter. The comet was discovered on 3 April 1867 by Ernst Wilhelm Leberecht Tempel, and was first recognized to be periodic in May of that year by C. Bruhns.

To view a movie of the collision, from the impactor's perspective, see www.nasa.gov

See also Deep Impact mission at UMD
See also NSSDCA Master Catalog
ref: www.nasa.gov
ref: www.nasa.gov

Died, Anatoli N. Berezovoy (at Zvyozdny Gorodok, Moscow Oblast, Russian Federation), USSR cosmonaut (Salyut 7; over 211d 09h in spaceflight)
ref: www.spacefacts.de

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