SpaceX Wins NASA Launch Contract for Asteroid Redirect Test Mission

DART mission profile (Credit: NASA)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA has selected SpaceX in Hawthorne, California, to provide launch services for the agency’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission, 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.

The total cost for NASA to launch DART is approximately $69 million, which includes the launch service and other mission related costs.

The DART mission currently is targeted to launch in June 2021 on a Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 4E at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. By using solar electric propulsion, DART will intercept the asteroid s’ small moon in October 2022, when the asteroid will be within 11 million kilometers of Earth.

NASA’s Launch Services Program at Kennedy Space Center in Florida will manage the SpaceX launch service. The DART Project office is located at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, and is managed by the Planetary Missions Program Office at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, for NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office in Washington.

For more information about NASA programs and missions, visit:

https://www.nasa.gov

  • Saturn1300

    Pay off. This is why they dropped their protest of the other mission I suppose.

  • Robert G. Oler

    good

  • savuporo

    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.

    That’ll be an absolutely tiny nudge.