NASA Greenlights Planetary Defense Integration Phase With JHU APL

Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory has received approval to continue on with a planetary defense program under NASA.

JHU APL said Monday it will enter the integration phase of the Double Asteroid Redirection Test that aims to perform asteroid deflection via a kinetic impactor approach.

DART will help NASA measure the orbital changes of a small moonlet moving around the Didymos A asteroid.

The DART spacecraft will undergo integration testing with complementary systems in the program’s upcoming phase. The APL-led DART engineering team confirmed the readiness of the spacecraft’s build, software activities and facility integration.

The team, under the leadership of APL engineer Elena Adams, presented the effort’s status in March to a readiness review board composed of experts from NASA and APL.

NASA plans to launch DART onboard SpaceX’s Falcon 9 launch vehicle in 2021.

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