Deep Space 1: Providing a Wealth of New Space Technology | 1/17/2019 | Staff
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Deep Space 1 (DS1) was a pioneering spacecraft launched in the late 1990s as part of NASA's New Millennium Program. The primary goal of the spacecraft's mission was to test dozens of new and groundbreaking technologies that were implemented in future missions, such as Dawn and New Horizons.

The DS1 spacecraft's technological testing was successful and significantly contributed to decreasing risks and costs for later spacecraft. The mission surpassed expectations by also capturing up-close images of the asteroid 9969 Braille and Comet Borrelly as the spacecraft flew by.

Science - DS1 - Technology - NASA - Goal

Instead of science, DS1 focused on new technology. NASA's goal for the mission was to test the performance of five advanced technologies in flight, as well as another three out of six potential instruments, by Sept. 30, 1999, the end of DS1's primary mission.

The agency also planned for the onboard ion-propulsion system to propel the spacecraft into an asteroid-encountering trajectory, during which NASA could assess how the propulsion system interacted with the spacecraft and surrounding environment. Researchers feared that the operation of ion thrusters could contaminate both the science and the engineering portions of a mission, and DS1's job was to reveal how the contamination would work.

Space - Spacecraft - Ion - Propulsion - Engine

Deep Space 1, the first spacecraft to use ion propulsion as its main engine, being assembled.

DS1 carried the following 12 advanced technologies:

Mission - Success

Required assessment: Each of these had to be evaluated for mission success.

Solar electric propulsion (SEP): Also known as ion propulsion, solar electric propulsion offered potentially significant mass savings for future deep-space and Earth-orbiting missions that would require large changes in velocity.

Concentrator - Array - Function - Ion-propulsion - System

Solar concentrator arrays: A high-powered solar array ensured the function of the ion-propulsion system by using 720 lenses to focus sunlight onto 3,600 solar cells to convert light into electricity.

Autonomous navigation: The onboard computer controlled the spacecraft and the integrated camera and imaging instruments. This autonomous navigation...
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