The Deep Impact Mission flight schedule is approximately 6 months, but the many milestones between early planning and the end of the project last over 6 years. This timeline was created prior to impact with comet Tempel 1.
System Requirements Review (SRR) - May 2000
This review is for evaluation of all system requirements for the mission. Recommendations for all aspects of the mission are made. They are based on the science requirements requested by the Primary Investigator and the Science Team.
Preliminary Design Review (PDR) - March 2001
The entire mission team presents a full report during the PDR. NASA provides a board of experts who evaluate the mission status and recommend whether or not it should be continued.
Critical Design Review (CDR) - January 2002
This review focuses on actual implementation of the spacecraft design. They verify that detailed design is complete and that we are ready to proceed with fabrication. The team needs to demonstrate that the detailed design definition satisfies all requirements and interfaces.
Launch - January 2005
The spacecraft will be launched from Kennedy Space Flight Center in January 2005. There is a "flight window", a space of hours to days within which it must launch. Mechanical concerns, weather and even strong wind affect the launch time, making the window of opportunity crucial.
Encounter (Impact) - July 4, 2005
Twenty-four hours prior to impact, the flyby spacecraft will release the impactor. The impactor will set a path to the comet while the spacecraft performs a "deflection maneuver" to place itself a safe distance and angle from the impact. To learn more about this event, read out Fact Sheet.
End of Mission (EOM) - August 2005
Selected visuals are sent to earth from both the impactor and the flyby spacecraft in near real time. Complete data continues for one more month. This signals the EOM (End of Mission).
End of Project (EOP) - April 2006
Data analysis continues with a small portion of the mission team including all scientists until the end of the project. Deep Impact data will become a resource to many other scientists, agencies, and missions.