Epoxi Spacecraft Burns for Home, Then Comet

May 31, 2010
Artist's concept of Epoxi spacecraft. Image credit: NASA/JPL

(PhysOrg.com) -- NASA's Deep Impact/Epoxi spacecraft successfully performed a maneuver to refine its orbit prior to an upcoming Earth flyby June 27.

The maneuver, along with the Earth flyby, will place the spacecraft on a trajectory to fly past Hartley 2 on Nov. 4.

The began at 2 p.m. EST (11 a.m. PST) on May 28, 2010, when the spacecraft fired its engines for 11.3 seconds. While the burn changed the spacecraft's velocity by only 0.1 meters per second (less than a quarter mile per hour), that was all the mission's navigators requested to set the stage for an Earth gravity assist on June 27.

"While it was a small burn, it was a big step in getting us to Hartley 2," said Tim Larson, project manager of NASA's Epoxi mission. "Humanity's fifth close-up view of a comet is less than five months away."

Epoxi is an extended mission of the spacecraft. Its name is derived from its two tasked science investigations -- the Deep Impact Extended Investigation (DIXI) and the Extrasolar Planet Observation and Characterization (EPOCh).

Explore further: Lockheed Martin successfully mates NOAA GOES-R satellite modules

More information: For information about Epoxi, visit www.nasa.gov/epoxi

Related Stories

NASA Announces Deep Impact Future Mission Status

Jul 21, 2005

As NASA's Deep Impact flyby spacecraft prepares to execute its sixth trajectory correction maneuver, program managers at agency headquarters in Washington are investigating future options.

NASA's Stardust Burns for Comet, Less Than a Year Away

Feb 18, 2010

Just three days shy of one year before its planned flyby of comet Tempel 1, NASA's Stardust spacecraft has successfully performed a maneuver to adjust the time of its encounter by eight hours and 20 minutes. ...

Deep Impact correction maneuver successful

May 16, 2005

Fifty-nine days before going head-to-head with comet Tempel 1, NASA's Deep Impact spacecraft successfully executed the second trajectory correction maneuver of the mission. The burn further refined the spacecraft's trajectory, or ...

Messenger Sets Course For Earth Flyby

Jun 29, 2005

A short maneuver on June 23 kept Messenger on track for its Aug. 2 flyby of Earth – the major gravity assist that starts the next leg of the spacecraft's journey toward Mercury.

Messenger spacecraft on way to Mercury

Aug 03, 2005

NASA's Messenger spacecraft swung by Earth for a Tuesday gravity assist that propelled it deeper into space on its long journey toward Mercury.

Recommended for you

Winter in the southern uplands of Mars

9 hours ago

Over billions of years, the southern uplands of Mars have been pockmarked by numerous impact features, which are often so closely packed that they overlap. One such feature is Hooke crater, shown in this ...

Five facts about NASA's ISS-RapidScat

9 hours ago

NASA's ISS-RapidScat mission will observe ocean wind speed and direction over most of the globe, bringing a new eye on tropical storms, hurricanes and typhoons. Here are five fast facts about the mission.

User comments : 0