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29-Jul-99 | Deep Space 1 update

Deep Space 1 has been in excellent health since its launch on Delta 261 in October 1998, and has exceeded nearly every requirement in tests of its new technologies. On 29 July it flew within 10 miles of the newly-named asteroid 9969 Braille (formerly 1992 KD) using only its experimental AutoNav guidance system. Unfortunately, DS1 lost track of the mile-wide asteroid about 20 minutes before conjunction and was unable to take any images, no great surprise considering the relative speed of almost 35,000 mph. Controllers are hopeful that funding will allow them to extend DS1’s mission past a September end date, since two comet passes are available in 2000.

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