NASA prepares for EPOXI mission comet flyby

Oct 28, 2010 By Priscilla Vega and DC Agle
Navigators and mission controllers for NASA’s EPOXI mission communicated with the spacecraft for a trajectory correction maneuver on October 27, 2010. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

In one of its final mission trajectory correction maneuvers, the EPOXI mission spacecraft has refined its orbit, preparing it for the flyby of comet Hartley 2 on Nov. 4. The time of closest approach to the comet on that day is expected to be about 7:02 a.m. PDT (10:02 a.m. EDT).

Yesterday's trajectory correction maneuver began at 11 a.m. PDT (2 p.m. EDT), when the spacecraft burned its engines for 60 seconds, changing its velocity by 1.59 meters per second (3.6 miles per hour).

On Nov. 4, the spacecraft will fly past Hartley 2 at a distance of about 700 kilometers (435 miles). It will be only the fifth time in history that a spacecraft has been close enough to image a comet's nucleus.

EPOXI is an extended mission that uses the already "in-flight" Deep Impact spacecraft to explore distinct celestial targets of opportunity. The name EPOXI itself is a combination of the names for the two extended mission components: the extrasolar planet observations, called Extrasolar Planet Observations and Characterization (EPOCh); and the flyby of Hartley 2, called the Deep Impact Extended Investigation (DIXI). The spacecraft will continue to be referred to as "."

Explore further: Video gives astronaut's-eye view inside NASA's Orion spacecraft

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

NASA's EPOXI mission sets up for comet flyby

Sep 30, 2010

Earlier yesterday, navigators and mission controllers for NASA's EPOXI mission watched their computer screens as 23.6 million kilometers (14.7 million miles) away, their spacecraft successfully performed its ...

NASA mission 'E-Minus' one month to comet flyby

Oct 05, 2010

Fans of space exploration are familiar with the term T-minus, which NASA uses as a countdown to a rocket launch. But what of those noteworthy mission events where you already have a spacecraft in space, as ...

The comet cometh: Hartley 2 visible in night sky

Oct 19, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Backyard stargazers with a telescope or binoculars and a clear night's sky can now inspect the comet that in a little over two weeks will become only the fifth in history to be imaged close ...

Recommended for you

Water fleas prepared for trip to space

1 hour ago

Local 'Daphnia' waterfleas are currently being prepared by scientists at the University of Birmingham for their trip to the International Space Station (ISS), where they will be observed by astronauts.

The worst trip around the world

1 hour ago

As you celebrate the end of the year in the warmth of your home, spare a thought for the organisms riding with a third-class ticket on the International Space Station – bolted to the outside with no protection ...

Four Galileo satellites at ESA test centre

2 hours ago

ESA engineers unwrapped a welcome Christmas present: the latest Galileo satellite. The navigation satellite will undergo a full checkout in Europe's largest satellite test facility to prove its readiness ...

Funding challenges for Orion and SLS

2 hours ago

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) is the audit, evaluation, and investigative arm of Congress, which exists to support Congress in meeting its constitutional responsibilities and to help improve ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.