encounter phase

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The period during a spacecraft's flight in which it begins collecting data, for which the mission was intended. This may last from less than a week up to, for a satellite in orbit, several years. The collecting period includes a far encounter phase and near encounter phase.

At NASA, an encounter phase is normally managed from the Space Flight Operations Facility at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics.

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