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Deep Space 1 demonstrated 200 starts and 16,246 hours of operation as of 12/18/2001!

Deep Space 1
Deep Space 1 with the NSTAR Ion Engine

The Deep Space 1 (DS1) spacecraft was the first project launched as part of NASA's New Millennium program. Its mission was to evaluate 12 new technologies on board the spacecraft, and to use these technologies to perform a flyby of the asteroid Braille (1992 KD). The extended mission called for a flyby of the comet Borelli. One of the 12 technologies that was proven during its mission was the ion propulsion system. 

NSTAR Thruster
NSTAR Ion Engine

DS1 used the NSTAR ion engine as primary propulsion for its mission. The ion engine propelled DS1 263,179,600 km (163,532,236 miles) at speeds up to 4.5 km/s (10,066 mph). The NSTAR engine, developed by GRC's ion propulsion program, is 30 cm in diameter and weighs only 8.3 kg (about 18 lbs). The engine was powered by two solar arrays, which output 2500 W. The ion engine used 2100 W of this power. This is the same as thirty-five 60 W light bulbs. Due to the engine's high efficiency it needed only 81 kg (178 lbs) of xenon propellant to achieve its mission. If there were more xenon on board the engine could have produced a top speed of 30 km/s (67100 mph).

Deep Space 1 Facts
Project Start - 10/1/1995
Launch - Cape Canaveral, 10/24/1998
Asteroid Braille Encounter - 07/29/1999, DS! passed only 27km from asteroid 1992 KD
End of Primary Mission - 09/1999
Comet Borelli Encounter - 09/22/2001 , DS1 passed only 1400 miles from the comet
End of Extended Mission - 10/2001
Shutdown - 12/18/2001

Deep Space 1's Solar Orbit
Deep Space 1's Solar Orbit

Comet Borelli's Solar Orbit
Comet Borelli's Solar Orbit

Deep Space 1 Links
+ JPL's Official Deep Space 1 web site

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Last Updated: 04/21/2009 1:47 PM