How does a spacecraft get to where its going?
A flyby is a path a spacecraft follows past a planet or other body in space to get information about it. In a flyby, the spacecraft passes close, but isn't "captured" into an orbit by gravity. During a flyby, a spacecraft must use its instruments to observe the target as it passes, changing the aim of the instruments as it passes. The spacecraft must downlink data at high rates to Earth, storing data onboard when it can't send it down.
A spacecraft in a flyby has a limited opportunity to gather information. Once it has flown by its target, it cannot return. Flyby operations are planned years in advance of the encounter and refined and practiced in the months prior to the encounter date.
Sometimes the scientists and engineers in charge of the flight cannot tell how close the ship will be to the object it is flying by until it is very close. Since what the ship does will depend on how far it is from the object, different sequences of commands are prepared by the flight team to carry out operations in various phases of the flyby, depending on the spacecraft's distance from its target.
DS1 will fly by an asteroid and possibly one or more comets.
How do we know a spacecraft's location?
What is a comet?
What is an asteroid?
What is an orbit?
How do scientists know what the path of an object in space will be?
How does gravity work in space?
What is downlink?
What will DS1 do when it gets to the asteroid?
What is DS1's programmed mission?
How does DS1 take pictures?
What would happen if DS1 collided with an object in space?