July 04, 2005

Deep Impact Is a Success!

JPL's Deep Impact mission to comet Tempel 1 is a complete success. The Deep Impact spacecraft rendezvoused with the comet yesterday, and released its Impactor; the Impactor collided with the comet early this morning, just as planned. You can see images of the collision at JPL's Deep Impact page, and there's an article at Space.com.

Kudos to everyone at JPL who made this happen, especially the Deep Impact development and flight teams, but also the Deep Space Mission System engineers and operators whose work is key in relaying commands and telemetry to and from the spacecraft. The ground system required to support missions like Deep Impact is shockingly complex; dozens of subsystems need to cooperate to process the uplink and downlink data and convey it around the globe so that we can see the pictures on the pages listed above.

I'd like to give special credit to the Uplink and Downlink subsystem engineers, who were on-call all weekend in case of problems--though I trust there weren't any. Good work, folks!

Posted by Will Duquette at July 4, 2005 07:32 AM

Mark D. said:

Wow! Congratulations, Will. I of course thought of you, and the following paragraph (Washington Post) made me rejoice:

"Five minutes later, the first flyby picture appeared. The comet's lower right quadrant had blossomed in a brilliant, unmistakable explosion of light. Cheers erupted in the JPL control room as picture after picture flashed onto screens lining the walls, each more spectacular than the one before."