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11-Oct-05 | Mission extensions

Two NASA spacecraft, both launched aboard Delta rockets, may soon have a new lease on life as their primary missions come to an end. Deep Impact (Delta 311) is in a power-down mode and a safe “storage orbit” following its comet encounter in July, while Stardust (Delta 266) will complete its mission in early 2006 with the release and return to Earth of its sample canister. Both probes have functional instruments and reserves of power and fuel, so NASA is hoping that the scientific community will come up with workable proposals for useful follow-on misisons. A formal Announcement of Opportunity is expected later this autumn. (Spaceflight Now, 10-Oct-05)


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