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CRAF (Cancelled)



CRAF was scheduled to conduct a close flyby of a mainbelt asteroid, fly in formation with a short-period comet to study it during both active and quiescent phases, and deploy a penetrator/lander into the nucleus of the comet to determine subsurface properties and composition. The principal objectives are to (1) determine the composition and character of a cometary nucleus, and characterize changes that occur as functions of time and orbital position, (2) characterize the cometary atmosphere and ionosphere and characterize the development of a coma as a function of time and orbital position, (3) determine comet tail formation processes and characterize the interaction of comets with the solar wind and radiation, (4) characterize the physical and geological structure of an asteroid, and (5) determine the major mineralogical phases and their distribution on the surface of an asteroid. The CRAF mission uses the first of a new series of RTG-powered three-axis stabilized planetary spacecraft, the Mariner Mark II, designed for missions beyond the orbit of Mars. Two and a half years after launch (and a gravity assist from the Earth), the spacecraft is expected to fly past the asteroid Hamburga in June 1998. In August 2000 it is expected to rendezvous with Comet Kopff and fly in formation with it for at least three years, during which the comet is expected to pass through perihelion and achieve its highest levels of activity. For further details see Neugebauer, M., ESA SP-278, 1987.

Alternate Names

    Facts in Brief

    Launch Date: 1995-08-01
    Launch Vehicle: 
    Launch Site: Cape Canaveral, United States
    Mass: 1600 kg

    Funding Agencies

    • NASA-Office of Space Science Applications (United States)
    • Deutsche Zentrum fuer Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR) (Federal Republic of Germany)


    • Planetary Science

    Additional Information

    Questions and comments about this spacecraft can be directed to: Coordinated Request and User Support Office



    NameRoleOriginal AffiliationE-mail
    Dr. Dudley G. McConnellProgram ManagerNASA Headquarters
    Mr. Ronald F. DraperProject ManagerNASA Jet Propulsion
    Dr. Marcia M. NeugebauerProject ScientistNASA Jet Propulsion
    Mr. Henry C. BrintonProgram ScientistNASA Headquarters
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