Status: Active. First Launch: 1998-10-24. Last Launch: 2001-08-08. Number: 3 . Thrust: 2,500.00 kN (562,000 lbf). Gross mass: 155,000 kg (341,000 lb). Height: 38.40 m (125.90 ft). Diameter: 2.44 m (8.00 ft). Apogee: 400,000 km (240,000 mi).
The primary mission of Deep Space 1 probe was to test new technology for future interplanetary spacecraft, the main experiment being an ion propulsion engine using xenon propellant. It had an initial mass of 486.3 kg, including 81.5 kg of Xenon and 31.1 kg of hydrazine propellants. The Delta 7326 used three Alliant GEM-40 solid strap-on motors, the standard Delta II core vehicle, and a Thiokol Star 37FM solid motor as the third stage. The Delta second stage entered a 185 km parking orbit, then fired again to enter a 174 km x 2744 km x 28.5 degree orbit. The Star 37FM then separated and accelerated to place Deep Space 1 to escape velocity. Deep Space 1 successfully started its ion engine on November 24 after an initial attempt failed after four minutes on November 10. From its initial solar orbit of 0.99 AU x 1.32 AU x 0.4 degree, Deep Space 1 was to fly past the 3 km diameter asteroid 1992 KD at its perihelion of 1.33 AU. The spacecraft then flew past the nucleus of comet 19P/Borrelly at a distance of 2200 km at 2230 GMT on Sep 22 2001. It survived the encounter in good shape, sending back photos of the comet. At the encounter DS1 was in a 1.3 x 1.5 AU x 0 deg (ecliptic) solar orbit; Borrelly's orbit was 1.3 x 5.9 AU.
Following separation of the third stage and the primary Deep Space 1 payload, the Delta second stage manoeuvred from its 185 km parking orbit to a 174 km x 2744 km x 28.5 degree orbit. It then released the SEDSAT micro-satellite, built by the Huntsville, Alabama chapter of SEDS (the Students for the Exploration and Development of Space). SEDSAT has two amateur radio transponders and an earth imaging camera.
Imager for Magnetopause to Aurora Global Exploration was a MIDEX (mid-sized Explorer mission) developed by NASA-Goddard and the SWRI (Southwest Research Institute) of San Antonio, Texas. The spin-stabilised spacecraft carried a set of neutral atom and ultraviolet imagers, and antennae to study radio wavelength emissions from the magnetosphere plasma. The RPI radio plasma imager has four long wire antennae which will be deployed to a span of half a kilometre.
Launch delayed from February 10 and July 30. The Genesis probe flew to the Earth-Sun L1 Lagrangian point and spend two years collecting samples of the solar wind. The collected samples were to be physically returned to Earth in a sample return capsule (air-snatch recovery was planned over Utah) and analysed in ground-based laboratories. The first burn of the Delta second stage put Genesis in a 185 x 197 km x 28.5 deg parking orbit at 1624 GMT. At 1712 GMT a second burn raised the orbit to 182 x 3811 km, and at 1713 GMT the third stage fired to put Genesis on its trajectory to L1 with a nominal apogee of around 1.2 million km. By the first week of November 2001 Genesis arrived at the Earth-Sun L1 point. A malfunctioning thermal radiator caused some concern for the health of the sample return capsule's critical battery, which was overheating, but Genesis began collecting solar wind samples on schedule.
On September 8, 2004, the Genesis space probe became the first spacecraft to return from beyond lunar orbit to the Earth's surface. The Genesis Sample Return Capsule separated from the spacecraft on September 8, 66,000 km above the Earth. The capsule successfully re-entered the atmosphere over Oregon at 11 km/s, but a wiring error resulted in the drogue parachute release mortar failing to fire at 33 km altitude. The capsule crashed to earth at 90 m/s in the Dugway Proving Ground at 40 07 40 N 113 30 29 W. Although the vehicle was smashed, some of the samples could be retrieved.