A Boeing Delta II launch vehicle carrying the Deep Impact spacecraft lifts off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on January 12, 2005.
Click on image for full size
Image courtesy NASA.

Deep Impact Launch
News story originally written on January 14, 2005

NASA launched the Deep Impact space mission at 1:47 PM Eastern Time on January 12, 2005. Deep Impact was lifted into space from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida aboard a Delta II launch vehicle. The spacecraft will study the comet Temple 1.

Deep Impact will rendezvous with the comet on July 4, 2005. The spacecraft consists of two parts: a "fly-by" section and an impactor that will crash into the comet. The impactor is made of copper, is about one meter (three feet) across, and has a mass of 370 kg (820lbs). It is expected to blast a crater the size of a football stadium and between two and fourteen stories deep into the comet. The fly-by craft will take measurements and pictures of the comet before, during, and after the collision. Scientists hope to learn more about the composition and interior of the comet from these observations.

Comet Tempel 1 was discovered in 1867 by Ernst Tempel. It orbits the Sun once every 5.5 years.

Last modified January 14, 2005 by Randy Russell.

You might also be interested in:

Ready, Set, SCIENCE!: Putting Research to Work in K-8 Science Classrooms

What types of instructional experiences help K-8 students learn science with understanding? What do science educators teachers, teacher leaders, science specialists, professional development staff, curriculum designers, school administrators need to know to create and support such experiences?...more


Not long ago, many people thought that comets were a portent that something bad was about to happen to them. Since people did not yet understand about the objects in the solar system and how they moved,...more

Deep Impact Launch

NASA launched the Deep Impact space mission at 1:47 PM Eastern Time on January 12, 2005. Deep Impact was lifted into space from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida aboard a Delta II launch...more

First Space Shuttle Launch Since Columbia Accident

NASA is preparing to launch a space shuttle for the first time since the tragic accident that destroyed the shuttle Columbia in February 2003. Discovery, one of the three remaining shuttle orbiters, is...more

1998--The Year in Review...

1998 was a very full year when it came to space exploration and history making. In the blast-from-the-past department, John Glenn received another go for a launch aboard Space Shuttle Discovery. After...more

Windows Team Discovers Twelve Stars!

Something new and exciting is happening at Windows to the Universe! Windows scientists say they discovered twelve new stars, including one that is the second brightest in the night sky! They decided to...more

A Letter Home from Mir

The following is Andy Thomas's last letter to those on Earth. The subject -- a view from space...As I have orbited around the Earth, I have spoken to many amateur radio operators as well as television...more

Memorial Service for Alan Shepard August 1st.

A memorial service in honor of Alan Shepard is scheduled for August 1st in Houston, Texas. Shepard died Tuesday, July 21, at the age of 74. "Alan Shepard is a true American hero, a pioneer, an original....more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA