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The first stage of a Boeing Delta II rocket is guided to its vertical position on the tower at Launch Complex 17, Cape Canaveral Air Station. The rocket will carry the Stardust spacecraft into space for a close encounter with the comet Wild 2 in January 2004. Using a medium called aerogel, it will capture comet particles flying off the nucleus of the comet, plus collect interstellar dust for later analysis. The collected samples will return to Earth in a Sample Return Capsule to be jettisoned as Stardust swings by Earth in January 2006. Stardust is scheduled to be launched on Feb. 6, 1999

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KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FLA. — At Launch Complex 17-A, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, the fairing completely encloses the Comet Nucleus Tour (CONTOUR). The fairing is the outer cover that protects the spacecraft during launch. Below the spacecraft is the Delta II rocket, the launch vehicle. CONTOUR will provide the first detailed look into the heart of a comet — the nucleus. Flying as close as 60 miles (100 kilometers) to at least two comets, the spacecraft will take the sharpest pictures yet of a nucleus while analyzing the gas and dust that surround them. Launch of CONTOUR is scheduled for July 1, 2002

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KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FLA. — At Launch Complex 17-A, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, a worker watches as the second half of the fairing moves toward the Comet Nucleus Tour (CONTOUR) spacecraft in the background. The fairing is the outer cover that protects the spacecraft during launch. Below the spacecraft is the Delta II rocket, the launch vehicle. CONTOUR will provide the first detailed look into the heart of a comet — the nucleus. Flying as close as 60 miles (100 kilometers) to at least two comets, the spacecraft will take the sharpest pictures yet of a nucleus while analyzing the gas and dust that surround them. Launch of CONTOUR is scheduled for July 1, 2002

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KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FLA. – Technicians begin removing the bottom of the container from the Comet Nucleus Tour (CONTOUR) spacecraft. The container surrounded it during transfer from KSC. CONTOUR will provide the first detailed look into the heart of a comet — the nucleus. Flying as close as 60 miles (100 kilometers) to at least two comets, the spacecraft will take the sharpest pictures yet of a nucleus while analyzing the gas and dust that surround these rocky, icy building blocks of the solar system. Launch of CONTOUR aboard a Boeing Delta II rocket is scheduled for July 1, 2002

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KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FLA. — On the tower at Launch Complex 17-A, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, the Comet Nucleus Tour (CONTOUR) spacecraft waits for removal of the bottom of the canister. CONTOUR will provide the first detailed look into the heart of a comet — the nucleus. Flying as close as 60 miles (100 kilometers) to at least two comets, the spacecraft will take the sharpest pictures yet of a nucleus while analyzing the gas and dust that surround these rocky, icy building blocks of the solar system. Launch of CONTOUR aboard a Boeing Delta II rocket is scheduled for July 1, 2002

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KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FLA. — On the launch tower at Launch Complex 17-A, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, the Comet Nucleus Tour (CONTOUR) spacecraft is exposed after partial removal of the container and wrap that surrounded it during transfer from KSC. CONTOUR will provide the first detailed look into the heart of a comet — the nucleus. Flying as close as 60 miles (100 kilometers) to at least two comets, the spacecraft will take the sharpest pictures yet of a nucleus while analyzing the gas and dust that surround these rocky, icy building blocks of the solar system. Launch of CONTOUR aboard a Boeing Delta II rocket is scheduled for July 1, 2002

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KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FLA. — On the launch tower at Launch Complex 17-A, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, technicians loosen the bolts on the container enclosing the Comet Nucleus Tour (CONTOUR) spacecraft. CONTOUR will provide the first detailed look into the heart of a comet — the nucleus. Flying as close as 60 miles (100 kilometers) to at least two comets, the spacecraft will take the sharpest pictures yet of a nucleus while analyzing the gas and dust that surround these rocky, icy building blocks of the solar system. Launch of CONTOUR aboard a Boeing Delta II rocket is scheduled for July 1, 2002

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KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FLA. — On the launch tower at Launch Complex 17-A, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, a technician checks the attachment of the Comet Nucleus Tour (CONTOUR) spacecraft (above) to the Boeing Delta II rocket (below). CONTOUR will provide the first detailed look into the heart of a comet — the nucleus. Flying as close as 60 miles (100 kilometers) to at least two comets, the spacecraft will take the sharpest pictures yet of a nucleus while analyzing the gas and dust that surround these rocky, icy building blocks of the solar system. Launch of CONTOUR is scheduled for July 1, 2002

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KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FLA. — On the launch tower at Launch Complex 17-A, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, a technician reaches to make a connection of the Comet Nucleus Tour (CONTOUR) spacecraft (above) to the Boeing Delta II rocket (below). CONTOUR will provide the first detailed look into the heart of a comet — the nucleus. Flying as close as 60 miles (100 kilometers) to at least two comets, the spacecraft will take the sharpest pictures yet of a nucleus while analyzing the gas and dust that surround these rocky, icy building blocks of the solar system. Launch of CONTOUR is scheduled for July 1, 2002

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KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FLA. — On Launch Complex 17-A, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, the Comet Nucleus Tour (CONTOUR) spacecraft – still wrapped in its protective container – is ready for encapsulation and mating with the launch vehicle. CONTOUR will provide the first detailed look into the heart of a comet — the nucleus. Flying as close as 60 miles (100 kilometers) to at least two comets, the spacecraft will take the sharpest pictures yet of a nucleus while analyzing the gas and dust that surround these rocky, icy building blocks of the solar system. Launch of CONTOUR aboard a Boeing Delta II rocket is scheduled for July 1, 2002