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Team members were observing the current COVID-19 protocols when the images were taken.

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Images from DRACO

NASA's DART Captures One of Night Sky's Brightest Stars

On May 27, DART's high-resolution camera DRACO captured this image of Vega, one of the brightest stars in the night sky and one of the solar system's closest neighbors at just 25 light-years. The six spikes around the star result from light bouncing off of the structure that holds DRACO's second mirror in place.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL

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NASA's DART Captures One of Night Sky's Brightest Stars

The DART team intentionally captured the star Vega just out of frame of its high-resolution DRACO camera in a test to see how light scatters off the camera's various parts. The halo-like glow around the star's edge is a result of the light scattering off DART's various internal parts.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL

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With Its Single 'Eye,' NASA's DART Returns First Images From Space

On Dec. 10, DART’s DRACO camera captured and returned this image of the stars in Messier 38, or the Starfish Cluster, which lies some 4,200 light years away.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL

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With Its Single 'Eye,' NASA's DART Returns First Images From Space

After opening the circular door to its telescopic imager, NASA’s DART captured this image of about a dozen stars near where the constellations Perseus, Aries and Taurus intersect.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL

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Ship and Launch Activities

NASA's DART Spacecraft Launches in World's First Planetary Defense Test Mission

NASA's Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) spacecraft sets off to collide with an asteroid in the world's first full-scale planetary defense test mission. Riding atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, DART took off Wednesday, Nov. 24, from Space Launch Complex 4 East at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Ed Whitman

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NASA's DART Spacecraft Launches in World's First Planetary Defense Test Mission

NASA's Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) spacecraft sets off to collide with an asteroid in the world's first full-scale planetary defense test mission. Riding atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, DART took off Wednesday, Nov. 24, from Space Launch Complex 4 East at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Ed Whitman

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NASA's DART Spacecraft Launches in World's First Planetary Defense Test Mission

NASA's Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) spacecraft sets off to collide with an asteroid in the world's first full-scale planetary defense test mission. Riding atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, DART took off Wednesday, Nov. 24, from Space Launch Complex 4 East at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Ed Whitman

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NASA's DART Spacecraft Launches in World's First Planetary Defense Test Mission

NASA's Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) spacecraft sets off to collide with an asteroid in the world's first full-scale planetary defense test mission. Riding atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, DART took off Wednesday, Nov. 24, from Space Launch Complex 4 East at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Ed Whitman

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NASA's DART Spacecraft Launches in World's First Planetary Defense Test Mission

NASA's Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) spacecraft sets off to collide with an asteroid in the world's first full-scale planetary defense test mission. Riding atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, DART took off Wednesday, Nov. 24, from Space Launch Complex 4 East at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Ed Whitman

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NASA's DART Spacecraft Launches in World's First Planetary Defense Test Mission

NASA's Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) spacecraft sets off to collide with an asteroid in the world's first full-scale planetary defense test mission. Riding atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, DART took off Wednesday, Nov. 24, from Space Launch Complex 4 East at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California.

Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

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Andy Cheng Watching the Launch

Andy Cheng, a Johns Hopkins APL planetary scientist and one of the DART investigation leads, reacts after the successful launch of the DART spacecraft. Cheng was the individual who came up with the idea of DART. He watched the launch from the Mission Operations Center at APL's Laurel, Maryland, campus.

Credit: Johns Hopkins APL/Craig Weiman

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DART Encapsulated

Inside SpaceX’s Payload Processing Facility at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California, both halves of the Falcon 9 rocket’s protective payload fairing move toward NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) spacecraft on Nov. 16, 2021. The payload fairing, with the spacecraft securely inside, will be attached to the top of the Falcon 9 and will protect the spacecraft during launch and ascent.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Ed Whitman

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DART Removed from Shipping Container

After moving to SpaceX’s payload processing facility on Vandenberg Space Force Base in California, DART team members carefully removed the spacecraft from its shipping container and moved it to a low dolly.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Ed Whitman

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DART Spacecraft Lowered

DART team members carefully lower the DART spacecraft onto a low dolly in SpaceX’s payload processing facility on Vandenberg Space Force Base.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Ed Whitman

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DART Packed and Ready to Move

DART packed and ready to move to SpaceX. DART team members stand outside Astrotech Space Operations’ processing facility with the shipment container holding the DART spacecraft. DART moved to SpaceX’s payload processing facility late last month.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Ed Whitman

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DART Arrives at Vandenberg

Placed in specialized container that was carefully strapped to the deck of a semitrailer truck, DART — followed by a small group of team members from Johns Hopkins APL — crossed the country from Maryland to Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. They arrived earlier this month.

Credit: Johns Hopkins APL/Ed Whitman

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DART Arrives at Vandenberg

Inside a clean room at Johns Hopkins APL, the DART spacecraft was moved into a specialized shipping container that headed across the country to Vandenberg Space Force Base near Lompoc, California, where DART is scheduled to launch from late next month.

Credit: Johns Hopkins APL/Ed Whitman

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Integration and Testing

Install Assistance of LICIACube on behalf of the Italian Space Agency

Engineers Alessandro di Paola (left) and Silvio Patruno from the company Argotech came to help install LICIACube on behalf of the Italian Space Agency. Here, they stand with the DART spacecraft and the fully installed box containing LICIACube (center) in a clean room at APL.

Credit: Johns Hopkins APL/Ed Whitman

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Inspection the LICIACube CubeSat

DART team engineers lift and inspect the LICIACube CubeSat after it arrived at Johns Hopkins APL in August. The miniaturized satellite will deploy 10 days before DART's asteroid impact, providing essential footage of the collision and subsequent plume of materials. Here, one of the solar panel arrays on the satellite's wings is visible.

Credit: Johns Hopkins APL/Ed Whitman

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ROSA Final Inspection

In August 2021, DART team members at APL did a final inspection of one of the spacecraft's two roll-out solar arrays (ROSA). These compact, lightweight "wings" will deploy after DART launches and will collect solar energy to help power the spacecraft.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Ed Whitman

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ROSA Final Inspection

In August 2021, DART team members at APL did a final inspection of one of the spacecraft's two roll-out solar arrays (ROSA). These compact, lightweight "wings" will deploy after DART launches and will collect solar energy to help power the spacecraft.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Ed Whitman

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ROSA Final Inspection

In August 2021, DART team members at APL did a final inspection of one of the spacecraft's two roll-out solar arrays (ROSA). These compact, lightweight "wings" will deploy after DART launches and will collect solar energy to help power the spacecraft.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Ed Whitman

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ROSA Final Inspection

In August 2021, DART team members at APL did a final inspection of one of the spacecraft's two roll-out solar arrays (ROSA). These compact, lightweight "wings" will deploy after DART launches and will collect solar energy to help power the spacecraft.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Ed Whitman

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ROSA Release and Shock Test

The DART team at APL fire the locks on the spacecraft's roll-out solar arrays (ROSA) in July 2021. These tests simulate the firing that will happen in space, ensuring the shock from the process won’t damage the spacecraft.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Ed Whitman

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ROSA Release and Shock Test

The DART team at APL fire the locks on the spacecraft's roll-out solar arrays (ROSA) in July 2021. These tests simulate the firing that will happen in space, ensuring the shock from the process won’t damage the spacecraft.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Ed Whitman

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DART Separation Shock Test

The APL DART team performs fit and shock tests on the DART spacecraft in July 2021. These tests ensure the spacecraft will properly fit onto the separation system that will connect DART to the launch vehicle and that it will safely kick away from the launch vehicle after launch.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Ed Whitman

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DART Vibration Tests

Test engineers and the lead structural analyst on APL's DART team closely monitor real-time data of the various accelerations the spacecraft experiences during vibration tests in July 2021.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Ed Whitman

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DART Vibration Tests

Test engineers and the lead structural analyst on APL's DART team closely monitor real-time data of the various accelerations the spacecraft experiences during vibration tests in July 2021.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Ed Whitman

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Pre-vibration Walkdown

Members of the DART team at APL carefully inspect the DART spacecraft prior to performing vibration tests in July 2021.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Ed Whitman

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Pre-vibration Walkdown

Members of the DART team at APL carefully inspect the DART spacecraft prior to performing vibration tests in July 2021.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Ed Whitman

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Pre-vibration Walkdown

Members of the DART team at APL carefully inspect the DART spacecraft prior to performing vibration tests in July 2021.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Ed Whitman

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DART Tested on SpaceX Hardware

APL's DART team attaches the spacecraft to a part of SpaceX hardware. The test, performed in July 2021, ensures DART will fit and check out electrically with SpaceX's Falcon 9, the launch vehicle that will take the spacecraft into space.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Ed Whitman

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ROSA (Roll-Out Solar Array) Test

Members of APL's DART team perform a pop-and-catch test with one of DART's roll-out solar arrays (ROSA) in June 2021. The process involves first firing the frangibolt mechanisms that are holding the array so it begins to unfurl and then stopping the array before it fully unwinds. The process ensures the ROSA will properly deploy after DART launches.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Ed Whitman

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Mass Properties Testing

In July 2021, the DART spacecraft underwent mass properties testing, a process that isolates the spacecraft's center of mass and provides details about how mass is distributed around the spacecraft. These details are critical to understanding how the spacecraft will move once in space.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Ed Whitman

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DART Gets Its Second Wing

The DART team at APL inspect and prepare to install the second of the DART spacecraft's two 28-foot- (8.6-meter-) long roll-out solar arrays (ROSA) in June 2021. These compact, lightweight "wings" will deploy after DART launches and will collect solar energy to help power the spacecraft.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Ed Whitman

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DART Gets Its Second Wing

The DART team at APL inspect and prepare to install the second of the DART spacecraft's two 28-foot- (8.6-meter-) long roll-out solar arrays (ROSA) in June 2021. These compact, lightweight "wings" will deploy after DART launches and will collect solar energy to help power the spacecraft.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Ed Whitman

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DART Gets Its Second Wing

The DART team at APL inspect and prepare to install the second of the DART spacecraft's two 28-foot- (8.6-meter-) long roll-out solar arrays (ROSA) in June 2021. These compact, lightweight "wings" will deploy after DART launches and will collect solar energy to help power the spacecraft.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Ed Whitman

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DART Gets Its Second Wing

The DART team at APL inspect and prepare to install the second of the DART spacecraft's two 28-foot- (8.6-meter-) long roll-out solar arrays (ROSA) in June 2021. These compact, lightweight "wings" will deploy after DART launches and will collect solar energy to help power the spacecraft.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Ed Whitman

Download JPG

DART Gets Its Second Wing

The DART team at APL inspect and prepare to install the second of the DART spacecraft's two 28-foot- (8.6-meter-) long roll-out solar arrays (ROSA) in June 2021. These compact, lightweight "wings" will deploy after DART launches and will collect solar energy to help power the spacecraft.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Ed Whitman

Download JPG

DART Gets Its Second Wing

The DART team at APL inspect and prepare to install the second of the DART spacecraft's two 28-foot- (8.6-meter-) long roll-out solar arrays (ROSA) in June 2021. These compact, lightweight "wings" will deploy after DART launches and will collect solar energy to help power the spacecraft.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Ed Whitman

Download JPG

DART Gets Its Second Wing

The DART team at APL inspect and prepare to install the second of the DART spacecraft's two 28-foot- (8.6-meter-) long roll-out solar arrays (ROSA) in June 2021. These compact, lightweight "wings" will deploy after DART launches and will collect solar energy to help power the spacecraft.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Ed Whitman

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DRACO Integration to Spacecraft

DART team members at APL install and inspect DART's only instrument - the Didymos Reconnaissance and Asteroid Camera for Optical navigation (DRACO) - onto the spacecraft in June 2021. This high-resolution imager, derived from the LORRI camera on NASA's New Horizons spacecraft, will measure the size and shape of Dimorphos, its target asteroid, and will feed the spacecraft's guidance system to autonomously direct the spacecraft to collision.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Ed Whitman

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DRACO Integration to Spacecraft

DART team members at APL install and inspect DART's only instrument - the Didymos Reconnaissance and Asteroid Camera for Optical navigation (DRACO) - onto the spacecraft in June 2021. This high-resolution imager, derived from the LORRI camera on NASA's New Horizons spacecraft, will measure the size and shape of Dimorphos, its target asteroid, and will feed the spacecraft's guidance system to autonomously direct the spacecraft to collision.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Ed Whitman

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DRACO Integration to Spacecraft

DART team members at APL install and inspect DART's only instrument - the Didymos Reconnaissance and Asteroid Camera for Optical navigation (DRACO) - onto the spacecraft in June 2021. This high-resolution imager, derived from the LORRI camera on NASA's New Horizons spacecraft, will measure the size and shape of Dimorphos, its target asteroid, and will feed the spacecraft's guidance system to autonomously direct the spacecraft to collision.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Ed Whitman

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DRACO Integration to Spacecraft

DART team members at APL install and inspect DART's only instrument - the Didymos Reconnaissance and Asteroid Camera for Optical navigation (DRACO) - onto the spacecraft in June 2021. This high-resolution imager, derived from the LORRI camera on NASA's New Horizons spacecraft, will measure the size and shape of Dimorphos, its target asteroid, and will feed the spacecraft's guidance system to autonomously direct the spacecraft to collision.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Ed Whitman

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DRACO Integration to Spacecraft

DART team members at APL install and inspect DART's only instrument - the Didymos Reconnaissance and Asteroid Camera for Optical navigation (DRACO) - onto the spacecraft in June 2021. This high-resolution imager, derived from the LORRI camera on NASA's New Horizons spacecraft, will measure the size and shape of Dimorphos, its target asteroid, and will feed the spacecraft's guidance system to autonomously direct the spacecraft to collision.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Ed Whitman

Download JPG

DRACO Integration to Spacecraft

DART team members at APL install and inspect DART's only instrument - the Didymos Reconnaissance and Asteroid Camera for Optical navigation (DRACO) - onto the spacecraft in June 2021. This high-resolution imager, derived from the LORRI camera on NASA's New Horizons spacecraft, will measure the size and shape of Dimorphos, its target asteroid, and will feed the spacecraft's guidance system to autonomously direct the spacecraft to collision.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Ed Whitman

Download JPG

DRACO Integration to Spacecraft

DART team members at APL install and inspect DART's only instrument - the Didymos Reconnaissance and Asteroid Camera for Optical navigation (DRACO) - onto the spacecraft in June 2021. This high-resolution imager, derived from the LORRI camera on NASA's New Horizons spacecraft, will measure the size and shape of Dimorphos, its target asteroid, and will feed the spacecraft's guidance system to autonomously direct the spacecraft to collision.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Ed Whitman

Download JPG

DRACO Integration to Spacecraft

DART team members at APL install and inspect DART's only instrument - the Didymos Reconnaissance and Asteroid Camera for Optical navigation (DRACO) - onto the spacecraft in June 2021. This high-resolution imager, derived from the LORRI camera on NASA's New Horizons spacecraft, will measure the size and shape of Dimorphos, its target asteroid, and will feed the spacecraft's guidance system to autonomously direct the spacecraft to collision.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Ed Whitman

Download JPG

DRACO Integration to Spacecraft

DART team members at APL install and inspect DART's only instrument - the Didymos Reconnaissance and Asteroid Camera for Optical navigation (DRACO) - onto the spacecraft in June 2021. This high-resolution imager, derived from the LORRI camera on NASA's New Horizons spacecraft, will measure the size and shape of Dimorphos, its target asteroid, and will feed the spacecraft's guidance system to autonomously direct the spacecraft to collision.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Ed Whitman

Download JPG

DART Gets Its First Wing

The DART team at APL prepare to carefully maneuver the first of the spacecraft's two 28-foot- (8.6-meter-) long roll-out solar arrays (ROSA) and install it on DART in May 2021. These compact, lightweight "wings" will deploy after DART launches and will collect solar energy to help power the spacecraft.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Ed Whitman

Download JPG

DART Gets Its First Wing

The DART team at APL prepare to carefully maneuver the first of the spacecraft's two 28-foot- (8.6-meter-) long roll-out solar arrays (ROSA) and install it on DART in May 2021. These compact, lightweight "wings" will deploy after DART launches and will collect solar energy to help power the spacecraft.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Ed Whitman

Download JPG

DART Gets Its First Wing

The DART team at APL prepare to carefully maneuver the first of the spacecraft's two 28-foot- (8.6-meter-) long roll-out solar arrays (ROSA) and install it on DART in May 2021. These compact, lightweight "wings" will deploy after DART launches and will collect solar energy to help power the spacecraft.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Ed Whitman

Download JPG

DART Gets Its First Wing

The DART team at APL prepare to carefully maneuver the first of the spacecraft's two 28-foot- (8.6-meter-) long roll-out solar arrays (ROSA) and install it on DART in May 2021. These compact, lightweight "wings" will deploy after DART launches and will collect solar energy to help power the spacecraft.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Ed Whitman

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DART Enters the Thermal Vacuum Chamber

DART Enters the Thermal Vacuum Chamber

With the recent completion of its Pre Environmental Review, DART received the green light to move forward with environmental testing. The DART spacecraft was moved into a thermal vacuum chamber at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in early February 2021, where it will spend the next month being subjected to extreme temperatures in preparation for the conditions it will face in space

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Ed Whitman

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DART Enters the Thermal Vacuum Chamber

With the recent completion of its Pre Environmental Review, DART received the green light to move forward with environmental testing. The DART spacecraft was moved into a thermal vacuum chamber at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in early February 2021, where it will spend the next month being subjected to extreme temperatures in preparation for the conditions it will face in space.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Ed Whitman

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DART Enters the Thermal Vacuum Chamber

With the recent completion of its Pre Environmental Review, DART received the green light to move forward with environmental testing. The DART spacecraft was moved into a thermal vacuum chamber at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in early February 2021, where it will spend the next month being subjected to extreme temperatures in preparation for the conditions it will face in space.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Ed Whitman

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Environmental Testing

Environmental Testing

The RLSA is a low-cost, high-gain antenna that enables high-efficiency communications in a compact form. From left, Steve Wenrich and Toomey finalize the installation of the RLSA on the DART spacecraft.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Ed Whitman

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Environmental Testing

DART team members (from left) John Schellhase, Emory Toomey and Lloyd Ellis of APL inspect the radial line slot array (RLSA) antenna before installing it on the spacecraft.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Ed Whitman

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Environmental Testing

The DART spacecraft undergoes electromagnetic interference testing; from left, Alan Busbey performs measurements with Jackie Kilheffer overseeing the process.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Ed Whitman

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NASA's NEXT-C (NASA's Evolutionary Xenon Thruster-Commercial)

NASA's NEXT-C (NASA's Evolutionary Xenon Thruster-Commercial) Ion Propulsion System Installation on DART

APL, which manages and is building NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART), led the installation of NEXT-C onto the spacecraft on Nov. 10, with team members from Aerojet Rocketdyne on hand to support the process.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Ed Whitman

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NASA's NEXT-C (NASA's Evolutionary Xenon Thruster-Commercial) Ion Propulsion System Installation on DART

The DART team lifted the thruster bracket assembly off of the assembly table and positioned it at the top of the spacecraft, a delicate and challenging move that required several team members to ensure everything went smoothly. “This took some care as the thruster's propellant lines extended below the bottom of the bracket ring and could have been damaged if the lift was not performed properly,” said APL’s Jeremy John, lead propulsion engineer on DART.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Ed Whitman

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NASA's NEXT-C (NASA's Evolutionary Xenon Thruster-Commercial) Ion Propulsion System Installation on DART

Once the NEXT-C thruster was safely lowered atop the spacecraft's central cylinder, fasteners were installed to secure the thruster to the DART spacecraft. The team then connected the electrical harnesses and propellant lines between the thruster bracket assembly and the spacecraft. With DART successfully outfitted with NEXT-C, both propulsion systems are now fully installed on the spacecraft, and the next step will be to put the systems through environmental testing at APL.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Ed Whitman

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NEXT-C Ion Engine Testing - 2019

NEXT-C ion engine firing during thermal-vacuum (TVAC) testing at NASA Glenn Research Center in December 2019.

Credit: NASA Glenn Research Center/Aerojet Rocketdyne/NEXT–C

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NEXT-C Ion Engine Firing - 2017

NEXT–C ion engine during ground testing at NASA Glenn Research Center.

Credit: NASA Glenn Research Center/Aerojet Rocketdyne/NEXT–C

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NEXT-C Ion Engine Firing - 2017

NEXT–C ion engine firing during testing at Aerospace Corporation in September 2017.

Credit: NASA Glenn Research Center/Aerojet Rocketdyne/NEXT–C

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DART Panel Closeout

DART Panel Closeout

As the integration and testing phase continues on the DART mission, the APL team carefully closes two of the DART spacecraft’s panels.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Ed Whitman

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DART Panel Closeout

As the integration and testing phase continues on the DART mission, the APL team carefully closes two of the DART spacecraft’s panels.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Ed Whitman

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DART Panel Closeout

As the integration and testing phase continues on the DART mission, the APL team carefully closes two of the DART spacecraft’s panels.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Ed Whitman

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DART Panel Closeout

As the integration and testing phase continues on the DART mission, the APL team carefully closes two of the DART spacecraft’s panels.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Ed Whitman

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DART Panel Closeout

As the integration and testing phase continues on the DART mission, the APL team carefully closes two of the DART spacecraft’s panels.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Ed Whitman

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DART Panel Closeout

As the integration and testing phase continues on the DART mission, the APL team carefully closes two of the DART spacecraft’s panels.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Ed Whitman

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DART Panel Closeout

As the integration and testing phase continues on the DART mission, the APL team carefully closes two of the DART spacecraft’s panels.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Ed Whitman

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DART Panel Closeout

As the integration and testing phase continues on the DART mission, the APL team carefully closes two of the DART spacecraft’s panels.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Ed Whitman

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DART Panel Integration

DART Panel Integration

The DART team prepares to integrate the spacecraft’s panels, which house an array of hardware and wiring that will eventually be tucked safely within the spacecraft structure. The panels were opened to allow for efficient integration and testing

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Ed Whitman

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DART Panel Integration

The DART team prepares to integrate the spacecraft’s panels, which house an array of hardware and wiring that will eventually be tucked safely within the spacecraft structure. The panels were opened to allow for efficient integration and testing.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Ed Whitman

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DART Panel Integration

The DART team prepares to integrate the spacecraft’s panels, which house an array of hardware and wiring that will eventually be tucked safely within the spacecraft structure. The panels were opened to allow for efficient integration and testing.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Ed Whitman

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DART Panel Integration

The DART team prepares to integrate the spacecraft’s panels, which house an array of hardware and wiring that will eventually be tucked safely within the spacecraft structure. The panels were opened to allow for efficient integration and testing.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Ed Whitman

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DART Panel Integration

The DART team prepares to integrate the spacecraft’s panels, which house an array of hardware and wiring that will eventually be tucked safely within the spacecraft structure. The panels were opened to allow for efficient integration and testing.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Ed Whitman

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DART Control Room Testing

DART Control Room Testing

In the Ground System Equipment control room at APL, engineers perform tests and simulations on the DART spacecraft, which sits behind glass in the clean room.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Ed Whitman

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DART Control Room Testing

In the Ground System Equipment control room at APL, engineers perform tests and simulations on the DART spacecraft, which sits behind glass in the clean room.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Ed Whitman

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DART Control Room Testing

In the Ground System Equipment control room at APL, engineers perform tests and simulations on the DART spacecraft, which sits behind glass in the clean room.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Ed Whitman

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DART Control Room Testing

In the Ground System Equipment control room at APL, engineers perform tests and simulations on the DART spacecraft, which sits behind glass in the clean room.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Ed Whitman

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APL Receives DART Spacecraft Structure

APL Receives DART Spacecraft Structure 4

"This milestone is the culmination of four years of work," said Jeremy John, DART's lead propulsion engineer, standing here (at right) with Juan Morales. "These last few months have presented several unexpected challenges that the teams at APL and Aerojet Rocketdyne were able to overcome successfully on the way to completing the propulsion system integration and acceptance testing."

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Ed Whitman

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APL Receives DART Spacecraft Structure 2

The DART team has spent the last month installing the electrical harness and subsystems onto the spacecraft panels, as well as testing the spacecraft's avionics and the software for its Small-body Maneuvering Autonomous Real Time Navigation (SMART Nav) system. The DART structure will eventually be outfitted with these subsystems and SMART Nav in the coming months. Pictured from left are Shelly Conkey, Lisa Wu, Betsy Congdon and Steve Wenrich.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Ed Whitman

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APL Receives DART Spacecraft Structure 3

The Lab has remained operational during the COVID-19 outbreak to continue to support critical work on-site, including the DART mission ahead of its 2021 launch. The mission's Integration and Test team has taken additional safety precautions, including staggering shifts to limit the number of people working together at once and wearing additional protective gear. Pictured from left are Emory Toomey, Lisa Wu, Shelly Conkey, Juan Morales, Steve Wenrich and Betsy Congdon.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Ed Whitman

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APL Receives DART Spacecraft Structure 1

The DART team — including (from left) Emory Toomey, Shelly Conkey, Lisa Wu and Steve Wenrich — oversaw the careful move of the refrigerator-sized spacecraft structure to a clean room on APL's campus.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Ed Whitman

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DART Unboxed 1

DART's mechanical engineering team (from left): Amber Dubill, John Schellhase, Kurt Gantz, Neal Bachtell, Shelly Conkey, Katherine Scherck, Chip Delmar, Betsy Congdon, Doug Ramsay, Lisa Wu, and Juan Morales

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL

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DART Unboxed 2

DART's primary structure arrived from Alliance Space Systems in California. The APL mechanical engineering team prepared to carefully unbox what is essentially the body of the spacecraft, an aluminum honeycomb structure measuring about 6.5 feet on each side.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL

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DART Unboxed 3

After removing paneling, the team surveyed the DART primary structure before preparing it for testing.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL

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Ground-Based Telescopes
Graphics
Miscellaneous

DART and ASI’s LICIACube at Didymos System

Illustration of NASA’s DART spacecraft and the Italian Space Agency’s (ASI) LICIACube prior to impact at the Didymos binary system.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Steve Gribben

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Illustration of DART 1

Illustration of DART, from behind

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL

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DART Vertical Poster

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL

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DART Collision

Illustration of DART on course to impact Dimorphos, viewed from the side of Dimorphos

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL

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Illustration of DART 2

Illustration of DART, from behind the NEXT–C ion engine

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL

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DART Impact Infographic

Infographic showing the effect of DART's impact on the orbit of Didymos B

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL

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Planetary Defense

DART is one part of NASA's larger planetary defense efforts.

Credit: NASA

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DART Poster

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL

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Infographic of DART and Didymos Sizes

Infographic showing the sizes of the two asteroids in the Didymos system relative to some objects on Earth

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL

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DART Coloring Page

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL

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DART Brand Graphic

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL

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DART Brand Graphic

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL

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Videos
Overview

NASA's DART Mission (2022 DART Trailer)

NASA's first flight mission for planetary defense, the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) seeks to test and validate a method to protect Earth in case of an asteroid impact threat. The DART mission aims to shift an asteroid's orbit through kinetic impact – specifically, by smashing a spacecraft into the smaller member of the binary asteroid system Didymos. DART reaches its target asteroid in September 2022.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Steve Gribben/Jessica Tozer

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Defending the Planet- NASA’s DART Mission

Launched in November 2021, NASA's Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) will be the world’s first mission to test planetary defense techniques, demonstrating one mitigation method of asteroid deflection, called kinetic impact. DART will impact the small asteroid moonlet Dimorphos, which orbits a larger companion, Didymos, in a binary asteroid system to change its orbital period. Although neither asteroid poses a threat to Earth, the collision with Dimorphos enables researchers to demonstrate the deflection technique along with several new technologies, and collect important data to enhance our modeling and predictive capabilities for asteroid deflection. Those enhancements will help us better prepare should an asteroid ever be discovered as a threat to Earth.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL

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Astronauts Show How NASA's DART Mission Will Change an Asteroid's Motion in Space

The DART spacecraft will intentionally crash into an asteroid to test if impacting an object is a viable way to deflect an asteroid, should a threat ever be discovered in the future. Watch as NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough and European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet demonstrate how the DART mission will work. Spoiler alert: it’s like a pillow fight in microgravity.

Credit: NASA | Editor: Jessica Wilde, NASA 360

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Overview of the DART Mission (Engineering)

Produced December 2018

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL

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Overview of the DART Mission (Mission Overview)

Produced December 2018

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL

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Overview of the DART Mission (Full Video)

Produced December 2018

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL

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Launch Activities

DART Launch to MECO

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Launch Show: Second Burn

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Launch Show: Michelle Chen

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Launch Show: Samson Reiny

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Launch Show: DART Launch Reaction

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Launch Show: Terik Daly

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Launch Show: First Stage Separation

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Launch Show: Andy Cheng

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Launch Show: Countdown to Separation

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Watch NASA’s DART Mission Launch (Double Asteroid Redirection Test) Official Broadcast/Stream

Can we change the motion of an asteroid? Our #DARTMission is set to be the first to try! The Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission is a spacecraft designed to impact an asteroid as a test of technology to see if it can change the motion of an asteroid in space. The goal of the mission is to see if intentionally crashing a spacecraft into an asteroid is an effective way to change its course, should an Earth-threatening asteroid be discovered in the future. DART’s target is the binary near-Earth asteroid Didymos and its moonlet, which pose no threat to Earth.

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NASA Science Live: We’re Crashing a Spacecraft into an Asteroid…on Purpose!

What questions do you have about NASA’s #DARTMission? Listen to our experts as NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) launches soon on a journey to become the world’s first #PlanetaryDefense test. The spacecraft will intentionally crash itself into an asteroid to see if it can move its motion in space. If it does, this could be proved as a viable way to deflect a threatening asteroid in the future, should one be discovered.

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Team

Behind the DART Mission: Inside the DART MOC

DART Mission Operations Manager Ray Harvey discusses the DART Mission Operations Center (MOC) and its critical role in the DART mission.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL

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Behind the DART Mission: The Science Behind Impacts

DART Impact Working Group Lead Angela Stickle discusses planetary impacts and DART's kinetic impact test with Dimorphos

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL

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Behind the DART Mission: Building a Spacecraft

DART Telecommunications Integration and Testing Lead Engineer Joshua Ramirez discusses the communications system and operations of the DART spacecraft.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL

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Behind the Spacecraft: Justyna Surowiec

DART Public Affairs Officer Justyna Surowiec discusses telling the story of the DART mission.

Credit: NASA

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Behind the Spacecraft: Kelly Fast

NASA's Kelly Fast discusses the goals of planetary defense and NASA's Planetary Defense Coordination Office.

Credit: NASA

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Behind the Spacecraft: Michelle Chen

DART's SMART Nav Lead Michelle Chen discusses the onboard, autonomous navigation system that DART will use to target Dimorphos for DART's kinetic impact test.

Credit: NASA

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Behind the Spacecraft: Elena Adams

DART Mission System Engineer Elena Adams discusses leading the team to build the DART spacecraft.

Credit: NASA

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Behind the Spacecraft: Andy Rivkin

DART Investigation Team Lead Andy Rivkin discusses the astronomical observations of asteroids and the role of such observations in the DART mission.

Credit: NASA

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Behind the Scenes: Inspecting DART's Roll-Out Solar Array (ROSA) Technology (feat Luke Becker)

NASA’s DART, the Double Asteroid Redirection Test, is a carefully planned experiment that will help determine if kinetic impactor technology—hurtling a spacecraft, toward a rocky body at speeds of about 13,000 miles per hour with the intention of pushing it off course—can serve as a reliable method of asteroid deflection in the event that such a hazard ever heads for the Earth. The recently installed Roll-Out Solar Arrays (ROSA) are critical technology that will enable the DART spacecraft to navigate through space and effectively reach the Didymos asteroid system. The flexible and rollable “wings” are lighter and more compact than traditional solar arrays despite their size; in space, each array will slowly unfurl to reach 28 feet in length, about the size of a bus. The technology was first demonstrated on the International Space Station in 2017 and again this past June, but DART will be the first spacecraft to fly the new arrays, paving the way for their use on future missions. Deployable Space Systems (DSS), the manufacturing company out of Goleta, California, which developed the technology, delivered ROSA to APL in May and worked closely with the APL team in the following weeks to install them onto the spacecraft.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Lee Hobson

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Behind the Scenes: Testing for Electromagnetic Interference on DART (ft. Ken Watson)

DART’s electromagnetic compatibility and interference lead engineer Ken Watson develops requirements and tests to make sure the spacecraft’s many electronic systems will operate before and after launch. This work is critical because a spacecraft is not typically tested as a whole until right before launch or, sometimes, even after launch. It’s important for the team to identify any problems early on, so that nothing stops the spacecraft from collecting important science data.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Lee Hobson

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Behind the Scenes: Outfitting the DART Spacecraft with Thermal Blankets, ft. Elisabeth Abel

Elisabeth Abel is the lead thermal engineer on the DART mission. She oversees thermal design and analysis, thermal hardware procurement, fabrication and installation, and thermal testing of the spacecraft. Outfitting a spacecraft like DART with thermal blankets is an important step in preparing the spacecraft for its journey through space – thermal blankets can keep it warm or cool, depending on the conditions it’s experiencing. See how the team at APL prepares the DART spacecraft for harsh temperatures in this behind-the-scenes video.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Lee Hobson

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Behind the Scenes: DART High Gain Antenna feat. Matthew Bray

Matthew Bray is the designer and lead engineer for the DART High Gain Antenna (HGA), following the antenna from concept to prototype, flight fabrication, and testing. The DART HGA is a wideband Radial Line Slot Array (RLSA) that forms a narrow beam, allowing high throughput images to be downloaded from DART's DRACO instrument as the spacecraft approaches the Didymos asteroid system. Watch Matthew and his team install the HGA onto the DART spacecraft.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Lee Hobson

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Behind the Scenes: NEXT-C Ion Engine Installation on DART (feat. Lead Propulsion Engineer Jeremy John)

Meet Jeremy John, DART's lead propulsion engineer at APL.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Lee Hobson

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Behind the Scenes: Assembling the DART Spacecraft (feat. Mechanical Systems Engineer Betsy Congdon)

Meet Betsy Congdon, DART's mechanical systems engineer at APL.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Lee Hobson

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Animations

LICIACube Activities

Animated clips of LICIACube deployment and subsequent flyby following DART's kinetic impact.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Steve Gribben

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DART Launch Sequence

Animated DART mission launch sequence

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Steve Gribben

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Didymos Orbit

Animated clip of the Didymos system’s orbit around the Sun.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Steve Gribben

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DART Animated Infographic

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL

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DART Animation

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL

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Technology

Smarter Navigation on NASA's Double Asteroid Redirection Test

NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) will be the first-ever mission to test a way to protect Earth from an asteroid strike. But to ensure DART hits its harmless test target, scientists and engineers at APL developed a guidance system unlike anything used on spacecraft before — a system that can direct a spacecraft entirely on its own without any human intervention. SMART Nav is a set of computational algorithms on DART that, with the rest of the spacecraft's guidance and navigation system, will independently find the moonlet asteroid Dimorphos and guide the spacecraft into it. Scientists knew from the outset of DART's development that the mission would need an autonomous component, but it had to be very different — something that was free to self-inform and make decisions on its own. Learn more about SMART Nav, the new technology that will help make DART’s kinetic impact with Dimorphos possible, in this interactive scrolling story: https://www.jhuapl.edu/interactive/navigating-double-asteroid-redirection-test-on-its-own.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL

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Roll-Out Solar Array Technology on DART

NASA’s DART, the Double Asteroid Redirection Test, recently had its massive solar array “wings” installed at APL. The Roll-Out Solar Array (ROSA) technology provides a compact form and light mass for launch. It will then deploy into two large arrays once DART is in space. Each “wing” extends 8.6 meters – just over 28 feet – in length. The solar arrays on DART will use the same technology tested on the International Space Station. Using ROSA as the structure, a small portion of the DART solar array is configured to demonstrate Transformational Solar Array technology. The APL-developed Transformational Solar Array technology has very high-efficiency solar cells and reflective concentrators. This additional technology on ROSA will provide three times more power than current solar array capabilities. The Roll-Out Solar Arrays will provide power to the spacecraft, allowing it to direct itself into its target, the binary asteroid system Didymos. DART will be the first-ever space mission to demonstrate asteroid deflection by kinetic impactor.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL

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Moving the DART Spacecraft to APL’s Thermal Vacuum Chamber

The DART spacecraft was moved to APL’s Thermal Vacuum Chamber for environmental testing in early February 2021.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Lee Hobson

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DART Spacecraft Structure Ramps Up Integration and Testing at APL

The DART primary structure returned to APL on May 15 and was moved into a clean room. It will remain on campus for the next year, undergoing assembly and testing ahead of its summer 2021 launch.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL

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DART: Unboxing a Spacecraft Structure

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL

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Media Resources
B-Roll Videos

DART Moves to SpaceX PPF at VSFB

ON October 26, 2001, the DART Spacecraft was transported to SpaceX's Payload Processing Facility at Vandenberg Space Force Base, California. After arrival, the container protecting the DART spacecraft was off loaded and moved into the airlock.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Lee Hobson

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DART is Lifted from Container to Low Dolly

On October 27, 2021, the DART Spacecraft is lifted from its shipping container to the low dolly in SpaceX's Payload Processing Facility at Vandenburg Space Force Base, California. The spacecraft was then powered up for the start of aliveness testing.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Lee Hobson

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DART Arrives at Vandenberg Space Force Base

On October 2, 2021, the DART Spacecraft arrived at Astrotech Space Operations, ASO, at Vandenberg Space Force Base, California. The 2876 mile trip from the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab in Laurel, Maryland, to Vandenberg SFB, took just over 46 hours. After arrival, the container protecting the DART spacecraft was off loaded and moved into the ASO Airlock.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Lee Hobson

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DART is Put Through the Rigors of Thermal Vacuum Testing

The DART spacecraft underwent thermal vacuum testing at the Johns Hopkins APL's Space Simulation Laboratory in March 2021. The spacecraft's systems were tested while in a vacuum and at extreme hot and cold temperature cycles The thermal Vacuum testing lasted 6 weeks.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Lee Hobson

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DART's Star Tracker Gets a New Coat

DART's Star Tracker is fitted with a thermal blanket on January 13, 2021, in a cleanroom at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, before undergoing thermal vacuum testing. Technician Min H. Hwang uses plastic film as a guide to place the thermal blankets that will protect the Star Tracker and spacecraft from the extreme temperatures in space.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Lee Hobson

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DART Spacecraft Panel Installation

On September 17, 2020, technicians at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, install a panel on the DART spacecraft containing the NEXT-C Power Processing Unit, avionics and other electrical components.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Lee Hobson

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The NEXT-C Power Processing Unit is Installed on the DART Spacecraft

The NEXT-C Power Processing Unit (PPU) is installed on the DART spacecraft at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland on September 19, 2020. The PPU provides power to the NEXT-C thruster, which the DART mission is demonstrating for NASA.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Lee Hobson

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DART's Top Deck Gets a Shiny New Coat

In a cleanroom at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, the top deck of the DART spacecraft is fitted with a shiny new coat of thermal blankets on January 13, 2021. Carefully fastened by APL technician Min H. Hwang, the blankets will protect the components on DART's top deck from the extreme temperatures in space.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Lee Hobson

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