DART asteroid mission: NASA’s first planetary defense spacecraft

NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test mission, or DART for short, is an ambitious project designed to test a method of deflecting an asteroid for the purpose of planetary defense, using the “kinetic impactor” technique.

DART mission key facts

– Launched: Nov. 24, 2021 at 1:20 am EDT (0620 GMT)

– Launch site: Space Launch Complex 4, Vandenberg Space Force Base in California

Rocket: SpaceX Falcon 9

Target: Didymos and its moonlet Dimorphos.

Target distance from Earth: 6.8 million miles (11 million kilometers)

Estimated cost: $313.9 million (£227.9 million)

– DART Impact window: Sept. 26, to Oct. 2, 2022

The DART mission was launched at 10:20 pm local time on Nov. 23, 2021, (1:20 am EDT, or 0620 GMT Nov. 24) atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from the Space Launch Complex 4 at the Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. The spacecraft is scheduled to arrive at its target in late September 2022, according to NASA officials (opens in new tab).

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