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Encounter Schedule

Encounter Schedule

Here is a timeline for the remainder of the EPOXI mission, updated on Oct. 26, 2010. Note that special event times, like press telecons and USTREAM events, are subject to change. The official EPOXI website,, will have the most up to date changes to the schedule and media contact information.

01 October 2010: The E-34 to E-8 day imaging sequence was initiated. During this period, the Deep Impact spacecraft acquires images every 5 minutes and spectral scans every 30 minutes. This phase is characterized by the spacecraft slewing to an image attitude for 16 hours/day and then slewing to a COMM attitude to downlink images. The spacecraft is expected to remain at the COMM attitude between 5.5 to 7.5 hours before returning to an image attitude. Select image and science result releases will be available at

20 October 2010: Comet Hartley 2 will pass within 0.12 AU of the Earth.

26 October 2010: A media telecon is scheduled for today at 18:00 UT (2pm EDT, 11 am PDT), to preview and discuss the mission and upcoming flyby of comet Hartley 2 with the Principal Investigator (A'Hearn) and Project Manager (Larson).

27 October 2010: The E-8 day Trajectory Correction Maneuver (TCM-21) is planned to execute today at 11:00 am PDT. This brings the E-34 to E-8 day observing sequence to a close. The spacecraft is now 8.5 million km away from the comet.

28 October 2010: First thing today, Hartley 2 will pass through perihelion. Observations resume with the start of the E-7 to E-1 day imaging sequence. The spacecraft will image the comet every 2 minutes, with gas band images interspersed, and spectral scans every hour. The observing occurs for 16 hours/day with an 8 hour/day downlink. There will also be a media advisory for encounter today.

29 October 2010: Malcolm Hartley, Hartley 2's discover, will be giving a lecture at the Griffith Observatory, CA at 7:30 pm PDT (10:30 pm EDT, 02:30 UT 30 Oct). (

30 October 2010: At E-4 days, a Go/No-Go Management Decision will be made as to whether TCM-22 needs to be implemented. If the spacecraft trajectory is within mission limits, the TCM is not required.

02 November 2010: Malcolm Hartley, Hartley 2's discover, will be giving a lecture in the von Kármán Auditorium at JPL at 7 pm PDT (10 pm EDT, 02:00 UT 3 Nov). (
At 22:00 UT (6 pm EDT, 3 pm PDT), the TCM-22 burn will occur if needed. The spacecraft is now 1.8 million km from the comet.

03 November 2010: Final preparation begins for the start of the critical sequence. The last pre-encounter data download will occur today. A decision will be made by the management team as to whether a pointing update or commanded time offset needs to be executed prior to closest approach while the spacecraft is still 1 million km from the comet. The E-18 hour to E+30 minute high resolution encounter observation sequence will commence at 20:50 UT (3:50 pm EDT, 12:50 pm PDT) with all data of the encounter stored onboard the spacecraft because the high gain antenna (HGA) is pointed away from the Earth and not capable of downlinking data during the encounter sequence.

04 November 2010: AutoNav is expected to be enabled at E-50 minutes and fly the spacecraft through closest approach. The cometary nucleus will be resolved ~1 hour out with the spacecraft 45,000 km away from its target. **Closest approach of comet Hartley 2 is expected to occur at ~ 13:50 UT (9:50 am EDT, 6:50 am PDT) at a distance of 700 km.** Hartley 2 will be 1.064 AU from the Sun and 0.156 AU from the Earth at this time. The spacecraft will be approaching the comet at a phase angle of 86 degrees. The MRI pixel scale at closest approach will be 7 m/pixel, giving a nuclear diameter of ~170 pixels in the highest resolution images. NASA TV will be covering the EPOXI Flight and Science Teams at JPL from 13:30 - 15:15 UT (9:30- 11:15am EDT, 6:30 - 8:15 am PDT). The first data downlink after encounter is scheduled to start at E+30 minutes, once the spacecraft's HGA is pointed to the Earth. The data will continue to download from the spacecraft through 06 November 2010. A post-encounter live press briefing is scheduled for 20:00 UT (4 pm EDT, 1 pm PDT) at JPL and will include members from the Flight and Science Teams as well as a NASA HQ representative. Prior to the press conference, 5 raw images from closest approach will be released on the EPOXI website,, as soon as they are available from the spacecraft. Processed versions of these images will be presented during the press conference. The press conference is scheduled to air on one of NASA's TV channels; however, space shuttle coverage may preempt EPOXI coverage on the main NASA TV channel, so check the education and outreach channels, as well as the web.

06 November 2010: The encounter data downlink will have completed and the E+2 to E+12 day post-encounter observations will begin with continuous imaging and downlink. Imaging will occur every 2 minutes and spectral scans will be collected every 15 minutes.

16 November 2010: The E+12 to E+21 day sequence is kicked off. These observations have a reduced acquisition frequency, with both imaging and spectra collected every 30 minutes.

30 November 2010: The last EPOXI observations will take place with a post-encounter cruise calibration. The EPOXI Science Team will continue to analyze data from Hartley 2 for several months. Key science results will be posted to the EPOXI website,, as they are released.

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