What will DS1 do on its mission?
NASA has an ambitious vision of space exploration in the 21st century. It hopes to establish a "virtual presence" in space, with many different spacecraft acting as our eyes and ears in space simultaneously. New technologies are needed to achieve this goal.
Technologies such as solar electric propulsion and the use of artificial intelligence in a remote agent promise a great leap forward in terms of future spacecraft capability, but they also present a risk to missions that use them for the first time. Testing them in flight is important to engineers and scientists who wish to use them on future missions. Through a series of deep space and Earth-orbiting flights, the New Millennium Program will use these promising but risky technologies in space to 'validate' them; that is, to prove that they work. Once validated, the technologies pose less of a risk to missions that would like to use them to achieve their scientific objectives.
By taking risks in smaller, faster and cheaper technology validation missions, the New Millennium Program is designed to reduce the risk for tomorrow's larger scale missions that use these revolutionary technologies. Seeing how they work will also help in development of new kinds of or variations on technology. In addition, the New Millennium Program will use the new technologies to accomplish scientific objectives during testing and return exciting information for scientists and the public.
What new technologies are being tested on DS1?
What is DS1's programmed mission?
What is the New Millennium Program?
What is autonomy technology?
How does NASA run space missions?
What components are where on DS1?
How will we know if the new technologies work?
How is NASA overseeing the DS1 mission?