[Image of NEAR]

NEAR Shoemaker

Detailed information on the Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous Shoemaker (NEAR Shoemaker) mission

Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous

Launch Date: 17 February 1996 - 20:43 UT (3:43 PM EST)
Launch Vehicle: Delta II
Planned on-orbit mass: 805 kg (includes 318 kg propellant)
Power System: Solar panels of 1800 W

The Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR) mission is the first of NASA's Discovery missions and the first mission ever to go into orbit around an asteroid. The spacecraft is equipped with an X-ray/gamma ray spectrometer, a near-infrared imaging spectrograph, a multispectral camera fitted with a CCD imaging detector, a laser altimeter, and a magnetometer. A radio science experiment will also be performed using the NEAR tracking system to estimate the gravity field of the asteroid. The ultimate goal of the mission was to rendezvous with and achieve orbit around the near Earth asteroid 433 Eros in January, 1999, and study the asteroid for approximately one year. A problem caused an abort of the first encounter burn and the mission had to be rescoped for a 23 December 1998 flyby of Eros and a later encounter and orbit on 14 February 2000. Eros is an S-class asteroid about 13 x 13 x 33 km in size. Studies will be made of the asteroid's size, shape, mass, magnetic field, composition, and surface and internal structure. Periapsis of the orbit will be as low as 24 km above the surface of the asteroid. Prior to its encounter with Eros NEAR flew within 1200 km of the C-class asteroid 253 Mathilde on 27 June 1997. It then flew by the Earth on 23 January 1998. The spacecraft has the shape of an octagonal prism, approximately 1.7 m on a side, with four solar panels and a fixed 1.5 m X-band high-gain radio antenna.

Dr. David R. Williams, dave.williams@nasa.gov
NSSDCA, Mail Code 690.1
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Greenbelt, MD 20771

NASA Official: Dave Williams, david.r.williams@nasa.gov
Last Updated: 27 January 2022, DRW