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04-Nov-98 | Delta flight 261 – Deep Space 1 / SEDSAT

Deep Space 1 and SEDSAT are both in excellent health after successfully launching from Cape Canaveral’s Pad 17A on 24 October 1998. The first mission in NASA’s New Millenium Program, DS-1 will flight-test 12 new technologies including a solar-powered xenon ion propulsion system and independent navigation control.

DS-1 and SEDSAT were launched aboard a Delta 7326, a model with a couple of notable features. It was the first Delta II to use only 3 GEM booster motors. In fact, this was the first Delta to fly with 3 motors in over 17 years! [Thanks to Moose Lavigne for pointing this out.] The flight was also the first use of the Star 37FM third stage motor on a Delta. This is the latest improvement on a motor last flown as the third stage in 1987, before the introduction of the Delta II. (Another version of the Star 37 is used as the apogee kick motor aboard Navstar GPS satellites.)

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