NASA’s Lucy spacecraft flew over Earth’s atmosphere today, marking the first anniversary of its launch.
It was 220 miles lower than the International Space Station, passing through debris and satellites. The procedure to avoid collisions is also used.
When designing the flyby, scientists also had to consider atmospheric drag.
Skywatchers in Western Australia first saw the satellite before it disappeared into the Earth’s shadow.
The first mission to Jupiter asteroids was launched on October 16th, last year. It lasted 12 years.
The asteroids orbit the sun at the same distance as Jupiter.
NASA stated that Lucy will be placed in a new orbit for two years by the first gravity assistance. Then, it will return for another assist to give Lucy the energy she needs to cross the main Asteroid Belt.
Lucy will be watching the asteroid Donaldjohanson before she travels into the Trojan asteroids.
The spacecraft will pass Eurybates and Quetta as well as Polymele, Leucus, Polymele, Polymele, Polymele, Leucus, and Orus.
Lucy’s third gravity assistance is scheduled for 2030. It will be near the Patroclus/Menoetius binary pair in the trailing Trojan Asteroid Swarm.
The agency stated that Lucy’s photographs of the Earth, moon, and Earth would be used to calibrate its instruments.