NASA hires SpaceX to help it crash an asteroid

14 April, 2019, 18:40 | Author: Kelly Sanders
  • NASA is paying SpaceX $69M to crash a rocket into an asteroid

The mission costs $69 million. In addition to DART, SpaceX's future launch manifest includes NASA LSP missions SWOT and Sentinel-6A.

The SpaceX launch delivered a Saudi Arabian satellite into space and for the first time ever all three Falcon Heavy rocket boosters returned to Earth after the launch.

NASA's DART spacecraft's launch window range begins in late December 2020 and runs through May 2021.

"SpaceX is proud to continue our successful partnership with NASA in support of this important interplanetary mission". "This contract underscores the confidence to NASA, the Falcon 9's ability to perform critical research tasks, while offering the best value launch in the industry". This is to prevent a possible asteroid collision course on Earth.


NASA plans to intercept Didymos when it's within 11 million kilometres (7 million miles) of our planet - in comparison, the moon is 240,000 miles and the sun is 93 million miles away. Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) Mission The DART mission has been under development at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory as part of NASA's planetary defense program. the mission will be the first of its kind to demonstrate the kinetic impact technique to change the orbit of an asteroid in space.

Since we don't have much testing data, it's unclear if kinetic impactors - which really should be called bumper rockets - will be effective on anything larger than a small asteroid. NASA demonstrated this on a smaller scale with the Deep Impact mission in 2005 - the name of yet another asteroid movie that we probably aren't going to need a sequel for.

DART's target launch date is on June 2021, at the Space Launch Complex 4E at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. An on-board camera and autonomous navigation software will assist in the strike, which hypothetically should shift the orbiting asteroid a fraction of 1%, but enough to be measured using telescopes from Earth.

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