NASA announced Thursday that it's awarded a launch services contract for the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) to SpaceX. The mission costs $69 million. The DART mission is now in Phase B, led by JHU/APL and managed by the Planetary Missions Program Office at Marshall Space Flight Center for NASA's Planetary Defense Coordination Office.
NASA's DART spacecraft's launch window range begins in late December 2020 and runs through May 2021.More news: Instagram Declares to Disapprove Inappropriate Content to Safeguard the App
The amount of the contract for SpaceX will be $ 69 million.
NASA's radical mission to fire a small spacecraft directly into an asteroid now has SpaceX on the roster, too. "This award underscores NASA's confidence in Falcon 9's capability to perform critical science missions while providing the best launch value in the industry". This is to prevent a possible asteroid collision course on Earth.More news: Chinese scientists create monkeys with human brain genes
The mission is slated for June 2021 launch aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
DART is created to intercept a small moon of the asteroid Didymos in late 2022 when the rock comes within 6.8 million miles (11 million kilometers) of Earth. According to the DART website, the probe won't reach its target until October 2022, upon which it will slam into Didymos' moon at a speed of almost 13,500 mph (6 kilometers per second).More news: Skype Rolls Out Screen Share Feature to Android, iOS Insider Build Users
DART will then collide with the small moonlet orbiting Didymos at the speed of 6 kilometers per second, with the goal of changing the speed of the moonlet in its orbit around the main body by a fraction of 1 percent, enough for the telescopes on Earth to record the event. While this sounds exciting, if the mission fails, it would result in derailment of NASA's "kinetic impactor technique", however, success will provide crucial data that will inform its deployment against an actual asteroid that's approaching our planet.