Space Exploration Technologies Corp., known as SpaceX, is an American aerospace manufacturer and space transport services company headquartered in Hawthorne, California. It was founded in 2002 by entrepreneur Elon Musk with the goal of reducing space transportation costs and enabling the colonization of Mars. SpaceX operates from many pads, on the East Coast of the US they operate from SLC-40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station and historic LC-39A at Kennedy Space Center. They also operate from SLC-4E at Vandenberg Space Force Base, California, usually for polar launches. Another launch site is being developed at Boca Chica, Texas.
Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission is the first-ever mission to demonstrate the capability to deflect an asteroid by colliding a spacecraft with it at high speed, a technique known as a kinetic impactor. DART is a planetary defense-driven test of one of the technologies for preventing the Earth impact of a hazardous asteroid: the kinetic impactor. DART's primary objective is to demonstrate a kinetic impact on a small asteroid. The binary near-Earth asteroid (65803) Didymos is the target for DART. While Didymos' primary body is approximately 800 meters across, its secondary body has a 150-meter size, which is more typical of the size of asteroids that could pose a more common hazard to Earth. The DART spacecraft will achieve the kinetic impact by deliberately crashing itself into the moonlet at a speed of approximately 6 km/s, with the aid of an onboard camera and sophisticated autonomous navigation software. The collision will change the speed of the moonlet in its orbit around the main body by a fraction of one percent, enough to be measured using telescopes on Earth.
NASA will hold a media briefing about the upcoming launch of the agency’s first planetary defense test mission, the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART). Briefing participants include NASA's planetary defense officer Lindley Johnson and representatives from DART project. DART is currently scheduled to launch at the end of November.
DART mission experts explain some of the key technologies enabling the DART spacecraft to autonomously navigate to and impact its target asteroid as humanity’s first planetary defense test work.
NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART), the world’s first mission to test technology for defending Earth against potential asteroid or comet hazards, will impact its target asteroid to change its motion in a way that can be measured using ground-based telescopes.