Champollion, also known as Space Technology 4, was to have been the fourth mission in NASA's New Millennium Program. Its goal was to have landed scientific instruments on the nucleus of a comet and demonstrate technologies for collecting extraterrestrial samples for return to Earth (see comet sample return probes). A launch in 2003 would have send the solar electric-powered craft to a rendezvous with Comet Tempel 1 in December 2005. After mapping the comet's nucleus from orbit, the carrier vehicle would have released the Champollion lander, which would have used autonomous navigation to maneuver to the chosen landing site. Budget cuts forced cancellation of the project in July 1999.
Related category SATELLITES AND SPACE PROBES
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