NEAR-Shoemaker Unmanned Spaceflight

NEARer to Eros

NEARAfter orbiting the sun behind asteroid 433 Eros for a year since a failed thruster burn almost ended its mission, unmanned space probe NEAR (Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous) fires its engines successfully, slowing itself to fall into orbit around Eros. During the weeks leading up to the orbital insertion maneuver, NEAR observed the space around Eros to ensure that no satellites existed with which it might collide. NEAR’s close study of Eros officially begins, and further maneuvers bring it into an ever-closer orbit around the asteroid.