Mission Update - March 2005
Maura Rountree-Brown with information from Keyur Petal, Deputy Project Manager, Deep Impact
In the last 30 days the Deep Impact mission team continued their Commissioning Phase for the flyby and impactor spacecraft. This initial phase after launch gives the team an opportunity to characterize the spacecraft and instruments and will be completed in late March with the final test to the impactor's ITS imaging instrument (impactor targeting sensor). The team also continues the "bake out" of the High Resolution Instrument (HRI) to remove moisture that accumulates during integration and testing. In the coming month, the science team will continue calibrating the instruments on both spacecraft by taking images and setting a baseline of data to compare to comet Tempel 1 at encounter. The team successfully completed the first of five Trajectory Correction Maneuvers (TCM's), which produced a velocity and angle change to put the flyby spacecraft more directly on the path needed to encounter comet Tempel 1 in July 2005. The impactor has been completely tested except for its thrusters, which can't be fired while it is still mated with the flyby spacecraft.