(Mission in transit) NASA DART Mission; first ever planetary defense test

LAUNCH TIME

2021-11-24T06:20:00Z

It may sound like something right out of science fiction, but on November 23rd at 22:20 local time from Vandenberg Space Force Base a very important, though perhaps not headline grabbing mission will blast off. DART which stands for Double Astroid Redirection Test will be humanity’s first ever dry run in defending Earth from an astroid impact.

MISSION PROFILE

Launching from Vandenberg Space Force Station in California the roughly 500 kg space craft will initially enter a polar parking orbit, before escaping earth and heading to an Astroid known as 65803 Didymos. It is expected to arrive at 65803 Didymos in October 2022. This astroid is actually not one, but two astroids in a binary system. (Hence it’s name as Didymos which is the Greek word for twin) Here the spacecraft will basically in simple terms try to hit the smaller of the two astroids as hard as possible. DART will hit the astroid at about 6.6 km/sec, and this impact is expected to change the astroids orbital speed around the larger of the two astroids in the pair by just 0.5 mm/sec. That may sound insignificant, but over time this could create a change in orbital period of more than 10 minuets. If directed early enough this would actually be enough of a change to alter the course of an astroid that was genuinely earth bound to a safer trajectory.

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LAUNCH VEHICLE

The DART mission with be flying aboard the Space X Falcon 9 rocket. This will be the 13th flight of Falcon 9 out of Vandenberg, and the 128th launch for Falcon 9 overall. The booster will be a block 5 booster serial number B1063, and this will be it’s 2nd flight to space. The booster will be attempting to land on the drone ship “Of Course I Still Love You.”

Animation of the mission

Great breakdown of the mission

I will try to post any live streams or updates as I find them

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ah yes 23th


24th at 3am for me 😭

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Oops lol

It’s also early in the am for me, I think that’s how it happened because I realized it would actually still be the 23rd at the launch site at that time and so I changed the 4 but not the th lol

This is actually crazy. How is this possible? lol

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A lot of smart people and sufficient funding makes many things possible lol

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Too bad I’m not smart enough for this xD

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Nearly within a week now. Here’s some photos of the DART spacecraft in Space X’s facility at Vandenberg getting ready to be mated to the Falcon 9 rocket. That process should have already occurred by now, though I have yet to see any pictures or confirmation of that.


(Photos credit NASA)

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Here’s a great video explaining the mission.

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I laughed and thought of fighting aliens when I first heard of space force 😂

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They get a lot of laughs, but they actually do a lot of important work. It was all under the Air Force space command previously, and making it a new branch just means it is easier to manage from a backend perspective. Or so the thinking goes at least. There wasn’t really any new responsibility’s taken on. Regardless of if it needs to be a new branch the US military’s presence in space has a lot of down to earth motivates, and is certainly not open combat in space. GPS, both our major launch facilities, many military satellites, ground stations to communicate with satellites, tracking of space debris, and much more all falls under the Space Force. That’s a lot of stuff we would definitely miss if someone wasn’t doing it.

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Indeed, I agree. Now let’s find out next year if the mission succeeds 🙏

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Less than a day now. I updated the original topic to reflect that it will be landing on drone ship “of course I still love you” and not returning to LZ-4.

Weather looks favorable, and the payload is fully integrated and Falcon 9 has done it’s static fire.

Within 3 hours now. Livestreams should start to appear soon

I’m watching the live stream right now, really excited!

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The rocket just lifted off!

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Whoever is commentating literally can’t do math

He said if you’re traveling at 15,000 mph, you can go from NYC to LA in the blink of an eye

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Yeah I heard him say that lol

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Wait, you can’t?

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Actually nyc and la are about 3000 miles apart, so at 15000mph it would take about 12 minutes

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The mission launch was a success. I was watching it live.

The mission went pretty much without a hitch. I kind of held my breath at the end, once they started reporting errors about a minute or two before landing that they were losing signal with stage one.

The shot that they had before landing with simply stunning, and you could definitely see the spacecraft landing pretty well, but right before any confirmation, cameras cut out and we lost signal with the spacecraft for about 3 minutes.

Luckily, that signal did return and there was a Landing confirmation. Now, only 10 months to go before the real test.

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